Nightmare Ryder Cup scenario coming true for Lynn

David Lynn at the PGA Championship
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David Lynn was a final-round star at Kiawah Island, but he might not get to show his stuff at Medinah.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | 12:51 p.m.

Ever made a snap decision that turned out to have a major impact on your life? David Lynn did, and it might cost him a potentially once-in-a-lifetime spot on the European Ryder Cup team

Lynn, you might remember, is the unheralded Englishman who shocked the world by finishing second to Rory McIlroy in the PGA Championship 10 days ago despite playing in only the second major of his life and his first in America. As he walked off the final green, a PGA Tour official told him that his top-10 finish had earned him a spot in last week’s Wyndham Championship in North Carolina if he wanted it. But Lynn – who owns only one European Tour victory at age 38 – had planned all along to return to England, declined and didn’t give it much thought at the time.

As it turns out, a finish of 46th or better at the Wyndham, combined with the bounty of Ryder Cup points he earned at Kiawah Island, would have kept him solidly in the running for a spot on the European team. The last chance to make the team is this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland and, by skipping the Wyndham, it turns out, Lynn would have had to win in Scotland to eke onto the squad.

But then came the next plot twist. On Monday, Peter Hanson of Sweden – who has already earned a spot on the team – withdrew from the Johnnie Walker.

The strength of the field of every tournament – and therefore the world ranking points available – is based on the ranking of the players in the field. When Hanson dropped out and was replaced by a lower-ranked alternate, that recduced the points on offer by just enough so that if Lynn wins, he will come up 0.68 points short of earning that final automatic spot.

Less than one measly, miserable little world ranking point could mean the difference between making his Ryder Cup debut and watching on TV like the rest of the world.

Now, obviously, Lynn would still be eligible for one of Captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s two captain’s picks, but even Lynn admits that seems unlikely. The widespread speculation is that Ian Poulter already has one of those picks locked up, and that big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts is the leading candidate for the other.

The best-case scenario for Lynn right now, it seems, is for him to play extremely well this week and have Colsaerts finish either first or second – that would boost Colsaerts into the 10th spot, bumping out the current No. 10, Martin Kaymer. Kaymer hasn’t been playing well this year as he adapts to a swing change, and Olazabal could pick Lynn based on his current good form.

"In hindsight I made a mistake -- I should have played last week," Lynn said at the Johnnie Walker. "I said I was going home. I was prepared for being out there for one week, not two, and I'm a bit like that when I get something in my head."

For complete coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup, click here.