Carl Pettersson was born in Sweden, has lived in England, and just recently became a United States citizen. However, you won’t see him on either Ryder Cup team this September despite a strong 2012.
Pettersson’s T-3 at the 94th PGA Championship last week showed he can perform under the brightest lights in golf. Had it not been for a rules violation in his final round, Pettersson very well may have won the season’s final major – at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course , the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup.
In Thursday’s opening round of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., Pettersson’s hot streak continued as he fired a bogey-free, 8-under 62 to lead the pack after the morning wave on Day 1. Surely, he could assist the European Ryder Cup team next month?
Alas, Pettersson’s situation is unique in that he quite literally is a man without a country – in Ryder Cup terms, at least.
Since Pettersson is not a European Tour member he is not allowed to play the matches either as a pick or qualifier, despite his roots. The last Euro Tour event he played was in 2006 and hasn’t played a full schedule on that tour since 2002.
The only way Pettersson could participate in the Ryder Cup would have been to formally join the European Tour by May 1 with the hope of qualifying admist names like McIlroy, Westwood, and others, or have won the PGA Championship last week and then accept honorary membership that comes with a major win.
So, since he is now a citizen, how about the United States team? No dice.
PGA of America regulations specify that in order to qualify for the American team, a player must have become a U.S. citizen before their 18th birthday. The 34-year-old Pettersson became a U.S. citizen this January.