Rory McIlroy doesn’t have to worry about making the 2016 European Ryder Cup team; he’s a lock. As for those players on the bubble, well, McIlroy thinks every one of them should’ve been attracted to this week’s French Open and the bonus Ryder Cup points to be handed out at Le Golf National near Paris.
“I think that was one of the incentives to come here, maybe not for myself, but for some of the other guys,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I think a few guys that aren’t playing might regret it, depending on what happens when the team is picked.”
The winner of the French Open, if European, will receive 64 points (compared to 36 in 2015) toward the World Points List and 1 million points toward the European Points List. Points will be higher than usual for those who make the cut, as well.
As for the tournament going on this week in Akron, Ohio, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which is being played earlier to accommodate the Olympics, will not award European Ryder Cup points or Race To Dubai points after the European Tour pulled its sanction from the event.
“You could see many guys that are down the list and have a good week this week, they can put themselves right into contention for either an automatic place or a (captain’s) pick,” McIlroy said. “It will be interesting to see how that unfolds.”
Among the bubble players in the French field: Victor Dubuisson, Lee Westwood, Thorbjorn Olesen, Thomas Pieters and Graeme McDowell. But there are some notables who aren’t in France.
Among those not playing the French Open: defending WGC-Bridgestone champion Shane Lowry (11th on both Ryder Cup lists), Soren Kjeldsen (10th in world points, 13th in European points), Andrew Johnston (24th, 27th) and Russell Knox (31st, 20th). All are in Akron.
McIlroy acknowledged Lowry’s quandary as “a tough position.”
“He wins his first World Golf Championships (event) last year, and naturally you want to go and try to defend your title,” McIlroy said. “So he was put in a tough position, just because of the way the schedule was this year.”