MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Langer could and should make Ryder Cup team

First published in Sport

COULD it really happen? Could Bernhard Langer make the European Ryder Cup team at the age of 56?

Could Paul McGinley honestly ignore the claims of the likes of major winner Graeme McDowell, former world number one Luke Donald and red hot Scot Stephen Gallagher and give a wild card spot to a man who hasn’t played in a Ryder Cup for 12 years?

On current evidence, he can and he should.

There is always a player who leaps to the fore and joins the par-tee (sorry) late when it comes to Ryder Cup selection and any fan of that magnificent golfing spectacle will agree that point.

When the Ryder Cup came to Newport under Colin Montgomerie’s watch it was Francesco Molinari who came from nowhere to sway his captain, but admittedly, few would’ve expected a chap moving towards a free bus pass to be the one to stake a huge claim.

But that is exactly what Langer has done this past week with his absolutely incredible performance at the Senior Open at Porthcawl, the first major to be held in Wales.

Langer produced a wire-to-wire victory but it was far more than that, he simply decimated the rest of the field to win with a scarcely believable 13 stroke margin.

Every aspect of Langer’s game was exquisite, his swing has barely altered since his was in his prime, a two-time Masters champion and a professional tournament winner 95 times.

His iron play is majestic, he hits fairway after fairway off the tee and he yields a long putter as well as Adam Scott or Ernie Els, all winning aspects for a Ryder Cup player.

Langer would and should also be inspirational for his teammates, you’d logically pair him with compatriot Martin Kaymer or a less experienced player – like Wales’ Jamie Donaldson, who looks likely to make the side – on the first couple of days and if the sun shines, you’d currently back Langer against anyone in the singles.

We saw in Brazil that it’s folly in the extreme to tell Germans what they can and can’t achieve in sport (no European side had ever won a World Cup in South America) and Langer’s Ryder Cup credentials speak for themselves.

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