Europe team may miss some big names

Updated: August 23, 2010, 12:23 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Peter Hanson's victory in the Czech Republic on Sunday will likely be the cause of more angst for Colin Montgomerie.

The European Ryder Cup captain was already facing the possibility of leaving one prominent player off his 12-man team that will face the United States in Wales the first week of October.

Now it appears that two players ranked among the top 25 in the world will have to watch the biennial matches after the Swede's victory Sunday at the Czech Open.

Montgomerie It's a headache and it's a nice headache to have, It's the first time that a European captain has had such a strong team that haven't quite qualified yet ... It's most unfortunate this particular year that I'm going to have to leave out winners this year, and that is possibly the first time any European captain has had to do that.

-- Colin Montgomerie at PGA Championship

Hanson moved up the European points list with his victory and bumped England's Paul Casey out of one of the nine automatic spots with only the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland left in the qualifying process.

It would be a mighty interesting fight to the finish if all of the Ryder Cup hopefuls were playing in Scotland this week. But they are not.

Casey, ranked ninth in the world following the PGA Championship, Luke Donald (10th), Padraig Harrington (18th), and Justin Rose (22nd) are all scheduled to play at the PGA Tour's Barclays tournament, the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events.

The tournament will have no bearing on the European Ryder Cup team even in the world points category because it will conclude after the Johnnie Walker -- when Montgomerie will to make his three picks on Aug. 29.

No. 21 Edoardo Molinari of Italy is also in the running for one of the three wild-card picks to join his brother, Francesco, who has locked up a spot on the team.

Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, PGA champion Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher have secured seven of the nine spots.

Hanson moved into eighth position, followed by Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not expected to play at Gleneagles due to a family commitment. Ross McGowan, Simon Dyson and Alvaro Quiros have a chance to knock Jimenez out with a high finish at Gleneagles.

At one time, Montgomerie had said he expected any player hoping for a spot to show up at Gleneagles.

But Casey, Donald, Harrington and Rose all elected to play the PGA Tour event and leave their fate up to Monty, who backtracked from his earlier statements on requiring them to play in Scotland.

"It's a headache and it's a nice headache to have,'' Mongomerie said at the PGA Championship. "It's the first time that a European captain has had such a strong team that haven't quite qualified yet ... It's most unfortunate this particular year that I'm going to have to leave out winners this year, and that is possibly the first time any European captain has had to do that.''

Rose has two victories on the PGA Tour this year, while Donald and Edoardo Molinari have each won on the European Tour. While Casey has not won in 2010, he is the highest-ranked player at No. 9 not on the team. Harrington, also a non-winner, is a three-time major champion who has played on the last five European teams dating to 1999.

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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