Henrik Stenson won’t earn one of the automatic berths for Europe when Ryder Cup qualifying ends in two weeks, sitting far behind in both the European and world point rankings the team uses to construct its roster. Depending on perspective, Stenson’s latest decision could signify his belief that he’s already on the team via a captain’s pick.

Stenson announced overnight that he’s pulling out from the Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club, the first leg in the US PGA Tour’s four-tournament playoffs.

The 2016 Open winner played last week at the Wyndham Championship, where he was the defending champ, recording a respectable T-20 finish. However, this has not been a particularly prosperous northern summer for Stenson, logging a lone top-10 finish – a T-6 at Shinnecock Hills – since the Masters. The 42-year-old has been hampered with elbow issues, forcing him to the sidelines for a number of events. It should be noted the ailment doesn’t appear to be messing with his ball-striking, as Stenson ranks first on tour in strokes gained/approach. Unfortunately, other parts of his game have suffered, particularly around (128th strokes gained/around the green) and on the greens (177th in putting).

Stenson’s Northern Trust absence won’t eliminate him from the postseason, ranking 50th in the FedEx Cup standings. But with the Ryder Cup deadline approaching, many viewed the playoffs as a chance for Stenson to make an 11th-hour pitch to captain Thomas Bjorn. Conversely, with five of the projected eight automatic selections set to make their first appearance for the Europeans, Stenson’s experience – he has four Ryder Cups under his belt – perhaps makes him a surefire bet for one of Bjorn’s four picks.

Also sitting out the Northern Trust is Rory McIlroy, who wasn’t listed when the field was finalised. This wasn’t a total surprise; the four-time Major winner indicated at the PGA Championship that he might skip this week.

“I need to assess where I’m at, and I think the best thing for me to do right now is take a couple of days off and reflect on what I need to do going forward,” McIlroy said in St Louis. “I’ll do some practice this week and see if I feel ready to go there and play five out of six weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup.”

Others missing the Northern Trust include Rickie Fowler, who is nursing an oblique tear, Patrick Rodgers, who is getting married this week, and Bud Cauley, who has not played since a car accident at the Memorial.