Sign up for our daily newsletter
Want latest news, reviews, analysis, deals, and events, and offers from our commercial partners? We’ve got you.
Matt Wallace is fixated on achieving his longstanding goal of competing in the Ryder Cup this September.
Wallace boosted his chances of making Luke Donald’s European side by winning Final Qualifying at West Lancashire to secure one of five spots at The Open.
The Englishman, who ended a four-year winless drought by winning his maiden PGA Tour title in March, showed signs of a resurgence in form as he topped the standings on 11-under-par over a marathon 36-hole shootout on Merseyside.
He sits 28th on Team Europe’s World Points list and will likely need to rely on one of six captain’s picks from Donald to tee it up on the Marco Simone course this autumn.
But an upbeat Wallace reiterated his main ambition is to force his way into the Ryder Cup conversation as the tantalising showdown with the USA looms large.
When asked by bunkered.co.uk if the Ryder Cup is playing on his mind, Wallace said: “Always. Missed cuts. Good performances. It’s always on your mind.
“But I’m ugly and old enough to know now that this is what – my third time going at it. I just want to play well and make it. It’s definitely on your mind.”
He continued: “This is the start. I need to play in The Open, I need to play in the big events and do well to get FedEx Cup and European Tour points. It’s important to get up those lists and try and get on Luke’s radar a little bit better.”
— Matt Wallace (@mattsjwallace) July 4, 2023
Wallace was desperately unfortunate to miss out on a pick in Thomas Bjorn’s team for the match in Paris in 2018. Three victories on the European circuit that season was not enough to convince the Dane that he was deserving of a wildcard selection.
The circumstances behind this run-in are entirely different, however. Wallace is now plying his trade full-time on the PGA Tour and has a solitary victory under his belt at the Corales Puntacana Championship.
Since that spring triumph in the Dominican Republic though, the 33-year-old has missed six out of ten cuts on the American circuit and his best finish has been a tie for 28th.
And while the dream of wearing blue-and-gold in Rome continues to consume Wallace’s thoughts, he is using the prospects of making his debut in the biennial contest as motivation during his darkest moments on the course.
“I’ve tried so many ways to not think about it and be so selfish,” he admitted. “Go out and play and do my own thing because that will take care of everything else – but I do that anyway.
“I play for myself anyway in tournaments but I want to make it and I don’t want to shy away from that.
“It’s a driver when I’m not playing so well or it’s a driver for me when I’m in 50th place. I just go ‘alright, what if it comes down to a couple points at the end of the season, who knows?’
“It gives me a bit of a booster when things aren’t quite going well and it gives me a kick up the back up the backside whenever I play poorly.”
Robert MacIntyre is currently placed 15th on the European points list and the Scot told bunkered.co.uk at the British Masters that he is just one big victory from being a near-certainty to make his own debut on the European side.
Wallace, however, believes he is in a unique position.
He considers his status as a full-time PGA Tour player an advantage over hopefuls competing on the less demanding European circuit and suggested he has an edge because he has already claimed silverware this season.
“I’d say less so for me because I’ve already got a win this year,” he said. “I’ve played all right over there on the PGA Tour. Because I’m playing in these big tournaments if I win another tournament I’ll be right up there.
“It’s harder there for sure. The standard of golf over there is unbelievable – the last two cuts have been four-under. Honestly, I’m a decent golfer, right, and if you shoot three-under and you’re going home you’re like ‘oh my goodness this job is so hard.’
“Its a little bit different on the DP World Tour. [The cut] was one-over last week at The Belfry. The standard is just slightly higher in America and the best players are over there as well.”
The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland
Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.Find Courses