Golf

Hanson looking to sew up Ryder Cup spot in US

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Swedish golfer Peter Hanson is hoping he will cement a place in the European team for the Ryder Cup in his next two tournaments in the United States.

The 34-year-old Hanson is eighth on the Ryder Cup points table with three qualifying events remaining. He doesn't want to leave it as late as he did two years ago, in which he only made the victorious 2010 team by winning the Czech Open two weeks before the cutoff date.

Hanson arrived in Ohio late Monday with plans to confirm his spot for the Ryder Cup at Medinah near Chicago in September by playing in only two events - the $8 million Bridgestone Invitational this week and the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina next week.

The top 10 in the qualifying table make the team automatically, with European captain Jose Maria Olazabal also having two wild card picks to announce by Aug. 27.

''The top seven on the qualifying table - Rory (McIlroy), G Mac (Graeme McDowell), Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Francesco (Molinari) and then Luke (Donald) and Lee (Westwood) are near certainities to make the team,'' Hanson said. ''Then there's myself, Martin (Kaymer) and Sergio (Garcia) at Nos. 8, 9 and 10, with Nicolas Colsaerts and Ian Poulter 11 and 12, so it's all going to come down to these two weeks here in the States as to who qualifies for the team.

''I'm under pressure from Martin and Sergio, but then I know if I have a good two weeks over here I should be fine. And after being in the winning team two years ago, I very much want to be a member of Jose Maria's side going to Medinah.''

If successful, Hanson won't play in the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. He will instead warm up for the series against the Americans by playing in the European Masters and KLM Open.

Hanson noted that the current top 10 all have played in the Ryder Cup previously, and believes Olazabal is likely to opt for that experience in his two picks.

''It's going to be difficult for someone like Nicolas Colsaerts as he's only rookie,'' Hanson said. ''He's just two places outside the 10 on the qualifying table and Jose Maria will want to take experienced Ryder Cup players with him to Medinah, and that could go against Nicolas, so his best bet is qualifying automatically.

''I hope Nicolas does qualify for the team as he would be a great asset and besides, if you look at one player among the top 12 who has performed consistently well all year, it's been Nicolas. But then if he doesn't make the team automatically you would have to think Jose Maria will more than likely choose Poulter and maybe (Padraig) Harrington.''

Hanson also thinks Olazabal will choose Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Ireland's Paul McGinley and fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez as his vice captains.

Tagged: Jose Maria Olazabal, Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson

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