Dyson backed to secure Ryder Cup place

COLIN MONTGOMERIE'S European Ryder Cup team will be finalised on Sunday evening and if Simon Dyson wants to be part of the 12-man squad the task facing him this week is straightforward – he must win the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

It is a tall order even for the game's elite given the strength of the fields that turn up to European Tour events each week, and especially for a 32-year-old whose return from 10 years on tour is a creditable, if not all-conquering, four wins.

But this particular Yorkshireman has history when faced with such equations.

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"In his first year on the Asian Tour he was third on the Order of Merit going into the final tournament, knowing a victory and only a victory would see him win the Order of Merit," recalls his then-coach Steve Robinson of Dyson's sojourn to the Far East in the winter of 1999-2000.

"He went and won the tournament convincingly, shot something like 24 under par, and hence won the Order of Merit.

"So he's done it before, he has what it takes, and don't be surprised if he goes and does it again."

Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington are all outside the qualifying places but have abandoned the search for points in favour of a quest for dollars on the US PGA Tour, leaving their fate in the hands of Montgomerie who is expected to pick his three wildcards from those four household names on Sunday evening.

That leaves Dyson, Ross McGowan and Alvaro Quiros as the only men teeing off in Scotland this morning with any hope of dislodging Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson from the final two qualifying places.

As well as winning, Dyson has to hope that two of the following three do not happen – McGowan finishes second, Jimenez – who on Monday decided to skip his nephew's wedding to compete at Gleneagles and protect his perilous position in the final qualifying place – finishes ninth, and Hanson 43rd.

His form in recent weeks is his best of the season, highlighted by a 12th-place finish at the PGA Championship which was swiftly followed by a transatlantic hop and fifth place at last week's Czech Open.

"Obviously his plan for the year has been built around the majors and he finally got a bit of reward for that at the PGA," said Robinson, who coached Dyson from 1992 to 2003 and now concentrates on his role as the English Women's Union's national coach.

"Simon's done well to stay in the race and quailfying for the Ryder Cup would be the crowning achievement.

"He's got the previous knowledge of having won in this position.

"He's a big form player and he's produced the best form of his season over the last month so is peaking at the right time.

"Back in 1999 he did well at the Walker Cup and players who usually do well in that event go on to make good Ryder Cup players.

"Monty was also impressed with him at the Seve Trophy last year and he wants to make the team by rights.

"He may have to because it would be a very big captain's decision to pick an uncapped player as a wildcard."