Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell admits he will have to get his act together to secure a fifth straight Ryder Cup appearance at Hazeltine.
McDowell is the only European player to have qualified automatically for the last four contests, but the world number 68 believes it will be tougher than ever to extend that impressive record.
“With so many great young players coming through, looking at Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry and Danny Willett, a few of us have got to get our act together,” said the 36-year-old, who is currently 14th in the standings.
“The veterans, as such, are not really performing the way they need to be, myself included. It’s one of those things that will take care of itself if I can do what I want to do the next few months, but it’s going to be a really highly-contested team and picks are going to be hard to come by.
“I certainly don’t want to wait for a pick this year. It’s going to be a hot team to get on to, but I feel like we’re into the meat and bones now the next few months with three majors, double points at the French Open, next week at the BMW PGA Championship of course. I’m desperate to be on the team, but I know I have to stay patient and just let it take care of itself.”
McDowell was among the prospective team members invited to dinner by European captain Darren Clarke during last week’s Players Championship, along with defending Irish Open champion Soren Kjeldsen.
And the 41-year-old Dane believes Clarke will make an excellent captain as Europe attempt to claim a fourth successive victory in Minnesota.
“I sat across the table from Rory (McIlroy) and he was telling me about some of the Ryder Cup moments that he had and how important it was for his career, and Darren did the same thing,” said Kjeldsen, who currently occupies the final automatic qualifying place.
“It’s going to be a very strong Ryder Cup team. The Europeans are going to be underdogs again, because the Americans are desperate to win it, and I think that’s a good thing.
“The European team is going to be very tightly connected. They are all going to die for that same thing. I think Darren’s going to be a fantastic captain and for him it’s very important that we get that strong bond, and to be part of that is extra special. It’s not just making a team. It’s creating a bond that’s going to last for a lifetime.
“Darren’s very good at creating that right atmosphere and creating that camaraderie between the players. He was the captain at the EurAsia Cup and I thought we just had a great atmosphere in the team room all week. I think he did an exceptional role.”