Europe's Ryder Cup potential highlighted by wins for Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari

Europe's Ryder Cup potential highlighted by wins for Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari

t is four months until the Ryder Cup but Europe could be forgiven for wishing the match was starting much sooner.

Captain Thomas Bjorn wore a broad grin when he announced his vice captains last week and that smile can only have widened following weekend results on both sides of the Atlantic.

Justin Rose reaffirmed his world-class credentials with his brilliant victory in the Fort Worth Invitational while Francesco Molinari has thrust himself firmly into the Ryder Cup picture with an equally impressive triumph at Wentworth.

Were the Italian to demonstrate at Le Golf National in September the machine like consistency he showed in a bogey-free weekend at the BMW PGA Championship, he would be a huge asset to Europe's bid to regain the trophy.

"I know it's on a course I love and where I have almost as good a record as I have on here [Wentworth], so I'd love to be there," said Molinari, 35, who played in Europe's victories in 2010 and 2012.

The eight players currently occupying the automatic qualifying spots look as strong as Bjorn could realistically have wished in Tyrrell Hatton, Rose, Rory McIlroy, Molinari, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren and Sergio Garcia.

Not a bad line-up is it?

Of those eight, only Hatton is struggling and he has previously demonstrated a happy knack of flicking the form switch. It would not be a shock if it were to happen this week at the Italian Open where the Englishman is the defending champion.

Bjorn certainly will not be overly concerned at this stage, especially as he is armed with four wildcard picks and has the likes of Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson on the fringes of qualification.

As it stands the Danish skipper could send out stellar foursomes pairings in France. How about McIlroy and Garcia, Rose and Poulter, Stenson and Noren and Rahm and Molinari? There are plenty of other options as well.

Of the players listed, only Noren, Hatton and Stenson have failed to post a tournament victory this year. The portents are undeniably encouraging as Europe seek to extend an unbeaten home record that remarkably stretches back to 1993. 

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