Cape Town – Thorbjorn Olesen, Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell are set for a Battle Royale under the watchful eye of European Captain Thomas Bjorn at the Made in Denmark – the last qualifying event in the race to represent Europe in next month’s Ryder Cup.
Those three players will fight it for the one final automatic qualifying place to guarantee a spot on Bjorn’s team to face the USA in Paris in just four weeks’ time.
Being played at the golf course where Bjorn honed his considerable talent as a child, the Silkeborg Ry Golf Club, the Made in Denmark could be the perfect place for Denmark’s current No 1 Olesen to become just the third Danish player in history (after Bjørn and Søren Hansen) to play in the Ryder Cup.
Olesen is certainly the man to catch and indeed will have his destiny firmly in his own hands this week.
The 28-year-old cannot be caught by either Fitzpatrick or Pepperell if he finishes in a tie for seventh place with one other player or better. If Olesen can do that in front of what is guaranteed to be a huge home crowd, he will be on the plane to Paris with Bjørn.
“Obviously it’s nice that they haven’t overtaken me but last week was more like preparing me for this week, trying to get ready and trying to make a good result this week, that’s all I’ve been thinking about. If you just look who has been Captain before for Ryder Cup and then you have Thomas this time, I think he fully deserves it with what he’s done for golf: how many tournaments he’s won and Ryder Cups he’s played. He’s a big name not just in Denmark but everywhere in the world. For us it’s very special to see a Danish guy doing that job and I’m sure he’s going to do a great job,” said Olesen.
For Fitzpatrick and Pepperell, their mission is simple: win and hope.
To have any hope of automatic qualification, both players have to win the tournament for a start. Fitzpatrick then has to hope Olesen is not tied for seventh with one other player or better. Pepperell needs a victory and Olesen outside the top 12.
Once the eight automatic qualifiers for Bjørn’s team are confirmed at the conclusion of the Made in Denmark, the Captain will travel to London next where he will name his four Wild Cards on Wednesday afternoon.
Among the players being spoken off for a potential Wild Card is Belgian Thomas Pieters, also in the field this week.
“Everybody knows what I have to do, I know it very well as well. I’ve just got to focus on Thursday and take every day as it comes. Play well, there’s not much else you can do, right? Thorbjorn has to be on the Team, he’s on it right now. There is so many good guys playing good golf right now so it’s going to be really tough for Thomas,” said Pieters.
Pieters memorably won the 2016 Made in Denmark event to win one of Darren Clarke’s Wild Cards before going onto to become the most successful European Ryder Cup rookie in history, winning four points from five matches.
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) August 27, 2018