How to Pick the Ultimate European Ryder Cup Team
There is a significant degree of uncertainty as to whether the Ryder Cup will go ahead as scheduled in 2020. Major players, notably Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm, are skeptical of the showpiece proceeding without spectators in attendance, but at present, the event remains on schedule, with a final decision expected to be announced later in June.
However, should the United States host Europe at Whistling Straits in September, American captain Steve Stricker will now be permitted to make six wild card picks to complete his team, an increase from the previously designated four, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the automatic qualifying process.
This revelation got us thinking about how we would embark on hand-picking a side, looking at key factors like form, experience, compatibility and previous results. Each of those will need to be considered by a captain.
However, we wanted to experiment and go a little further, using historical stats to select the Ultimate European Ryder Cup Team.
There is no definitive method to fairly assess 93 years of the Ryder Cup, the format has changed through the decades, the dominance has shifted dramatically, and it's a contest that is now alien to its formative days, but we established three categories that players had to be meet for possible inclusion.
Recognising longevity and sustained examples of success, our Ultimate European Ryder Cup Team had to 1. Played at Least 10 Matches, 2. Earned at Least 10 Points and 3. Have a Win Percentage of 50%.
Now, 16 European Ryder Cup stars are eligible based on that strict criteria, but how can that be rounded down to 12? The obvious method is judging it on win percentage, which harshly excludes Bernard Gallacher, Ian Woosnam, Lee Westwood, and by the narrowest of margins, Rory McIlroy. Nonetheless, those four are among the all-time greats and would the most formidable of substitute benches.
So, following the most agonising of statistical based decisions, meet our final 12 that will take on the United States.
Played in 8 Ryder Cups, 37 Matches, Won 22.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 60.81%
Played in 5 Ryder Cups, 20 Matches, Won 11.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 57.50%
Played in 4 Ryder Cups, 15 Matches, Won 10.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 70.00%
Played in 11 Ryder Cups, 46 Matches, Won 25 Points, Winning Percentage of 54.35%
Played in 9 Ryder Cups, 41 Matches, Won 25.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 62.20%
Played in 10 Ryder Cups, 42 Matches, Won 24 Points, Winning Percentage of 57.14%
Played in 8 Ryder Cups, 36 Matches, Won 23.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 65.28%
Jose Maria Olazabal
Played in 7 Ryder Cups, 31 Matches, Won 20.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 66.13%
Played in 6 Ryder Cups, 28 Matches, Won 15.5 Points, Winning Percentage of 55.36%
Played in 6 Ryder Cups, 22 Matches, Won 15 Points, Winning Percentage of 68.18%
Played in 5 Ryder Cups, 23 Matches, Won 14 Points, Winning Percentage of 60.87%
Played in 5 Ryder Cups, 19 Matches, Won 11 Points, Winning Percentage of 57.89%
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