Paul McGinley throws Ryder Cup door open for Jonas Blixt
Irish captain says joint-second place finish means Swede is almost ‘nailed on’ for spot on his team
Jonas Blixt of Sweden finished joint-second at Augusta National. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
In what was unquestionably a consequence of nerves, Blixt forgot the Ryder Cup captain’s name when speaking after finishing joint second at the Masters on Sunday.
McGinley said on Sky Sports: “The American points system offers double points for the majors this year, so that’s pretty much assured Jordan Spieth of his place on their team. They are going to have a few rookies and it looks as though we are going to have a few, too. It looks as if Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson are nailed-on as rookies – and maybe Blixt as well.”
Blixt, 29, has played the majority of his golf in the US but is expected to compete more frequently in Europe as the Ryder Cup qualification gathers pace.
“Jonas put himself in the driving seat to possibly make the team,” McGinley said. “He was quite far back on points before this week; he has performed well again for the second consecutive major, having played very well at the US PGA when there were also points available.
“It’s quite clear that he’s a man for the big occasion; he wasn’t daunted by coming down the stretch in a major. Certainly he’s a player who would be good enough for the Ryder Cup team. It’s up to him as to how he plays in the summer as to whether he makes it or not. His short game was special. I think he was third or fourth in putting for the week but his chipping was superb, too.
“It wasn’t just that. It wasn’t just a short-game exhibition. This guy has got a lot of heart and a lot of game; he had a lot of focus coming down those last holes. He certainly wasn’t daunted and it’s important, if he’s going to be a Ryder Cup player, that he has that psyche and it’s quite clear he has.”
McGinley will announce his team for the Ryder Cup – to be played at Gleneagles – on August 31st.