Team Europe confirm first five Ryder Cup picks with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm named

Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19

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Team Europe have confirmed the first five players that have secured an automatic place in their Ryder Cup team ahead of this month’s event at Whistling Straits, with world No 1 Jon Rahm and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy among the names.

The European’s revealed that Rahm and McIlroy would be joined by Englishmen Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood, as well as Norwegian debutant Viktor Hovland.

This therefore means that five of Europe’s nine automatic places have now been taken, with just one tournament of qualifying left at this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Number one golfer in the world Rahm, secured his spot after topping both the European Points List and World Points Lift following a scintillating Tour campaign that saw him climb to the top of the world and secure his maiden major title at this year’s US Open.

Alongside his major championship, the Spaniard has picked up two second place finishes, two thirds and A remarkable 15 top-10s on the PGA Tour, more than any other player.

One of his second places came at last week’s FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship, as the US Open Champion finished just one shot behind eventual winner Patrick Cantlay, after the pair battled it out until the very last hole of the season to determine the winner at East Lake.

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Despite this, another superb showing from Rahm saw him eventually finish second in the FedEx Cup standings and take £3.6 million in prize money.

The Spaniard will be joined by McIlroy at Whistling Straits, after the Northern Irishman qualified for the event for the sixth-successive time. Whilst not at his best, the four-time major winner has still shown why he is still one of the best in the world throughout 2021.

McIlroy secured his only title of the campaign at May’s Wells Fargo Championship for his 28th professional win, and has since gone on to add seven top-10 finishes to his resume, including a tied-fourth finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago.

One man who will also be making his way to Winsconsin is European fan favorite Fleetwood. The Englishman wrote himself into Team Europe folklore in 2018 as half of Europe’s formidable ‘Moliwood’ pairing alongside Franceso Molinari, as the pair won all four of their matches at Le Golf National.

And, whilst the 30-year-old has been without a win in two years, it seems he has hit form just at the right time, after finishing in a tie for second, one shot behind winner Nicolai Hojgaard at last week’s Italian Open.

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He’ll be joined by his native Englishman Casey who, despite turning 44 this year, has played some of his best golf throughout 2021. The 15-time European Tour winner will head to Whistling Straits for his fifth Ryder Cup appearance.

The only debutant to be confirmed in Europe’s first five is Norway’s Hovland, after bursting onto the scene as one of golf’s hottest prospects in the last year.

The 23-year-old has enjoyed yet another successful campaign with a victory at the Mayakoba Classic, as well as two second places, two thirds and seven top-10s on the PGA Tour to rightfully earn his maiden pick as part of Team Europe.

The final four automatic spots will be confirmed following Sunday’s final round at Wentworth, before captain Padraig Harrington will complete his team with three wildcard picks next week.

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