AUCHTERARDER, Scotland // Edoardo Molinari brought the Ryder Cup debate to a boiling point yesterday by how he played - and then by what he said. With one round to go at the Johnnie Walker Championship, Molinari is in second place behind his brother Francesco, who has already clinched a spot on the European Ryder Cup team.
Edoardo would make the team only if he is selected by Colin Montgomerie, the captain, with one of his three wild-card picks. "I would be very upset if I win and he doesn't pick me," said Edoardo, who shot a three-under-par 69 yesterday and trails his brother by one shot going into today's final round. "I'm probably one of the candidates, so I think if you win the last event and you don't get picked something is seriously wrong."
With Simon Dyson only two shots back in third place - and still having a chance to grab one of the automatic places on the European team - a gripping end to the year-long race is in prospect both at Gleneagles and at the Barclays Classic in the United States. The Molinari brothers will play together in the final round, just as they did in the Scottish Open last month, when Edoardo triumphed. This time a Ryder Cup wild card could rest on the outcome.
The argument over who should make the European team has been raging for days, with much discussion about the fact that wild-card favourites Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey and Luke Donald all decided to stay in America for the Barclays Classic. Justin Rose, who is also in the mix, is in the US, too, and there is a strong body of opinion that Montgomerie should choose Molinari - a World Cup winner with Francesco last November and ranked 22nd in the world a year after being on Europe's "second division" Challenge Tour.
Montgomerie, who two years ago criticised Ian Poulter for not being at Gleneagles under the exact same circumstances, was asked if he could leave Edoardo out if he wins. "Oh yeah," he said, before adding: "I might not. It would make my headache even worse, but it's a lovely headache to have." * Press Association