The main talk on the range all week at Wentworth this week for the BMW PGA Championship is about Ryder Cup qualification and the picks captain Padraig Harrington will make on Sunday night.
I left on Friday night having arrived on Monday and am now back in Rotherham after a three-hour drive. I am often asked why I don’t stay to the end of the tournament week.
I have always felt that with so many players on my books I now keep most of my work to the range. You tend to get in the way and the players, in my opinion, have to work it out for themselves.
I occasionally walk a practice round or a few holes with a player but this is generally reserved for the Major weeks.
I have a dozen or so players at Wentworth this week, but the outside focus is all on players in and around The Ryder Cup mix. Of my guys, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Victor Perez all could be on the captain’s shortlist, but even with only 36 holes left, it seems that spots can still be won and lost.
Looking at the US Team it must be one of the finest in history, with the lowest ranked player in the world rankings at No. 21 with Scottie Scheffler.
Patrick Reed is one of the few who may be disappointed to not make the US team, he has had health issues recently, which could be a factor for captain Steve Stricker. Perhaps, it may also be difficult to pair him with anyone. How about pairing him with Europe’s Tyrrell Hatton? Only joking.
Just to update on my situation, I will not be attending this year’s Ryder Cup, as I have to choose between the US or European bubble, which is just not fair. I have been at every Ryder Cup since Valderrama in 1997 with players in every match.
So, I will be at home watching the matches on TV in Rotherham.
I have been in touch with both Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy this week, neither playing at Wentworth.
Brooks is with the US Team this weekend for a recce at Whistling Straits. His reported injury is a new one, with his thumb after hitting a root in the rough a week or so ago. But Brooks is never a worrier and I am confident he will be on the first tee in a couple of weeks’ time.
Rory has not hit a ball this week and is recharging his batteries.
This reminds me that I will be off to the US sometime soon during their ‘off-season’ to look after both Brooks and Rory as they prefer me to do this in their backyard. I will next be with the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, the week after the Ryder Cup to see all my players.
Crowds are going to be so different in the US, and as with the Solheim Cup, only US -based crowds are permitted to attend. Covid-19 is still very much a factor in life and world sport. Perhaps,
it can inspire Europe as it did the European ladies just a week ago. They did play well and deserved their victory.
My final thoughts this week are for Europe captain Harrington. He is one of my players and played well in the first round at Wentworth, but missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 74. You can never really recover when you have five bogeys and two doubles in 36 holes.
Harrington was always in for a challenging week as he has the difficult decisions at the end of the week to nominate his three picks on Sunday night.
Roll on Sunday! I do not envy his next 48 hours.
PS. Just a note to Mike Walker, my partner in coaching my players. He looks after Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand who leads on his own at -12 after two days at Wentworth: Keep up the good work Mike.