Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carl Petterson: A Man Without A Ryder Cup Team

Associated Press/Stephen Morton
Few golfers have garnered as much attention over the last couple of weeks as has Swede Carl Petterson.  He is playing some of the best golf of his life right now, and for much of this past weekend was in the hunt for his first major at Kiawah Island.  His final round was derailed early with a brutal 2 shot penalty for nipping a leaf on his backswing in a hazard, but he responded with three straight birdies and garnered loads of fan support for how he handled the truly silly (but technically correct) ruling.

A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, Petterson has been playing well all season (he is 9th in the FedEx Cup race and won the RBC Heritage) and all he did today to rebound from his T-3 finish at the PGA Championship was shoot 62 in the opening round of the Wyndham Championship.

So a player this hot would seem to be a lock for the Ryder Cup team, right?  Well, not so much.  Petterson, who was born in Sweden (and thus seemingly eligible for the European team) but has become a United States citizen (wait, maybe he can play for the US), is a man without a homeland, as far as the Ryder Cup goes.  To be eligible for the European squad, he has to be a member of the European Tour (which he is not).  To be eligible for the US squad, he would have had to become a US citizen before his 18th birthday (which he did not).  So sadly for Carl, he is out of luck.

Logically, going by place of birth, he would seem to fit in with the European squad.  He is theoretically eligible for a Captain's Pick by Jose Maria Olazabal, but that seems unlikely.  First, Olazabal would have to convince the European Tour brass to grant an exemption and make Petterson a member of the European Tour to validate his selection - to describe that as a longshot is probably being generous, since Petterson is a member of the PGA Tour, lives in the US and is now a citizen.  Translation:  as far as the European Tour is concerned, Petterson has an American flag tattoo, loves apple pie and thinks soccer is stupid.  Second, with only two Captain's Picks (as opposed to US Captain Davis Love's four picks), the competition for those spots is truly fierce, and includes European Ryder Cup stalwarts like Ian Poulter and Sergio  Garcia.

It is a shame that the rules will block a guy like Petterson from playing, although the way he is making birdies right now, the US team may be better off with Petterson watching the matches from his couch.

1 comment:

  1. My father wanted me to be interested with golf thats why for my 18th birthday, I got my first golf shorts and a link to this blog. In all fairness, Ive been playing golf for months now and I love it. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with some news, too.

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