Quiros, Kaymer, Schwartzel, Donald, Colsaerts, McDowell, Molinari, Poulter…as close to a murderer’s row, to cite the old NY Yankee nickname, as we have in golf today. Five of the eight were on the 2010 edition of the Euro Ryder Cup team, all are European (more on those stacked odds later) and three currently hold major championships (Kaymer-PGA; Schwartzel-Masters; McDowell-US Open.)By mid-afternoon, US eastern standard time, we’ll know how the semifinals set up. I’ll make a quartet of predictions and select Kaymer over Quiros, Donald over Schwartzel, Poulter past Molinari and, as my upset special, Colsaerts beyond McDowell.
The format for this event is top-notch. It is second in drama, in my opinion, to the Surf Coast Knockout on the Australian Tour. 24 gents made up the original field, called the group stage. Patterned after soccer/football’s world cup, only two of three from each group advance to the knockout stage of win-or-go-home. Anders Hansen, Ryan Moore, Louis Oosthuizen, Y.E. Yang, Retief Goosen, Paul Casey, Paul Lawrie & Miguel Angel Jimenez were given boarding passes after the initial competition.
In round one of match play, Quiros beat Korea’s Seung-Yul noh, Kaymer ousted Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, Schwartzel and Donald dispatched England’s Ross Fisher & Sweden’s Johan Edfors, respectively. Colsaerts beat Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas while McDowell slid past Rory McIlroy, also of Northern Ireland; Molinari beat Aaron Baddeley from Down Under and Poulter nosed out countryman Lee Westwood.
Of the original 24 contestants, 2/3 came from Europe. 2 Asian, 3 African, 1 Australian, 1 South American and 1 North American made up the remainder of the field. In the end, that’s a fair balance. It is, after all, a European tour event, regardless of the misnomer in the name. Since the majority of the top ten in the world rankings is now European, it stands to reason and reasons to stand that those players should receive the first invitations to the event. Follow it here.