By night’s end Sunday, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk and European captain Thomas Bjorn – both of whom are competing this week – will have the top eight of their 12-man teams set, leaving their captain’s picks to come next month.
“We talked about him possibly playing, and that’s what he wanted to talk about, ” Furyk said at Bellerive Country Club, where the PGA Championship begins Thursday.
“It’s not like there’s any groundbreaking stuff I learned”, Thomas said. “You want guys who have that fire and that passion and you believe will thrive in that type of atmosphere”. So that’s something that I’m just trying to go through and try to figure out what I need to do to make that little step from contending and getting into final groups to lifting trophies. Garcia’s form in America this season has been so bad he actually needs a decent finish here simply to make the top 125 who qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs later this month (he’s now 131st).
World-class players, ” Bjorn gushed about the current top eight on the US points list, which includes Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson. Johnson, Koepka, Thomas and Reed have clinched spots already.
Bryson DeChambeau, Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau hold the ninth through 13th spots.
Woods has climbed from off-the-charts to 20th in the standings over the past seven months, taking a big jump after contending in the British Open at Carnoustie.
One player high on Furyk’s radar is DeChambeau, who won The Memorial in June and is a former U.S. Amateur champion.
Regardless of who makes the team for the matches in France this September, British Open victor Francesco Molinari of Italy predicted Tuesday the American team will be “one of the strongest ever”.
He won’t hesitate to pick young golfers.
Furyk says it was just a coincidence.
“I loved having the rookies on the team, seeing the fire in their eyes, seeing the spark they provided”, Furyk said.
“I played in a lot of final groups and I haven’t played well enough when it’s counted”. But the 42-year-old has displayed an increasing commitment to team events as he has aged, and as next year’s Presidents Cup captain and no doubt a future Ryder Cup captain, his experience could be invaluable. “And preferably make the team on merit because I can’t be in a situation where I feel like I’m doing anybody a favor”.
He hopes that his health will allow him to play in many more majors. “I probably will let them both know I didn’t ask for it and just go play golf and have fun”. I’ve done a lot of good things.
The plus side for Bjorn is that the one event Garcia has played well at in recent weeks was a top 10 at the French Open at Le Golf National, which will stage the Ryder Cup.
Only five Europeans have won more matches.
Various captains decided that it was best to pair Woods with experienced players. They have the home-course advantage.
Furyk called the competition “a battle of two giants, ” citing the world rankings littered with Americans and Europeans. After blowing a chance to win by finishing his final four holes bogey-bogey-par-triple bogey, DeChambeau was criticized for his interaction with victor and playing partner Richard McEvoy after the round.
“Every time I’ve asked a few veterans that I know how special that would be, or how special it was, they speak volumes about it”, Shauffele said.
“If Tiger was included in the USA team for the Ryder Cup, it would be great for the game of golf because he just brings something special”. “I’ve always been taught to focus on the task at hand”.