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Look Who's No. 31 On U.S. Ryder Cup Points List

Early in the season, Jimmy Walker sits squarely atop the U.S. Ryder Cup team standings while Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson are stuck on the outside looking in. (Photos by Brandon Connelly and Lance Iversen, USA Today)
Early in the season, Jimmy Walker sits squarely atop the U.S. Ryder Cup team standings while Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson are stuck on the outside looking in. (Photos by Brandon Connelly and Lance Iversen, USA Today)

Now that Jimmy Walker has won three of his past eight starts and rocketed to the top of every points list except NBA scoring average, let’s take a look (admittedly premature but interesting nonetheless) at one of those lists:

The latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings as of after the finish at Pebble Beach Sunday.


In the harsh, or refreshing, light of day several names jump out next to the number of their position in the standings.

Yes, there’s a ton of golf left including four majors and all sorts of double points opportunities. And, yes, U.S. captain Tom Watson will have three captain’s picks.

But if he had to make those picks tomorrow, he would have to spend one on Tiger Woods. And one on Hunter Mahan. And one on Matt Kuchar. Or one on Bubba Watson. Or one on Steve Stricker.

Nos. 1-9 in order right now are: Walker, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Harris English, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson and Chris Kirk.

In my humble opinion (IMHO) English and Walker will wind up on the team and be welcome rookie additions.

Nos. 10-12 right now are, in order, Kevin Stadler, Patrick Reed and Brian Stuard.

IMHO none of those three will make Watson’s team.

(Brian Stuard?)

IMHO No. 14 Jordan Spieth will show up in the top nine soon.

Mahan is languishing at 17. As is Kuchar at 19, Bubba Watson at 22, Woods at 31, Keegan Bradley at 32 and Stricker at 49.

That’s right. Tiger Woods, No. 1 in the world rankings, is presently No. 31 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Count me in as part of a large group that includes everybody else in the world in believing Woods, like Spieth, eventually will make the team on points.

But it’s kind of weird to see him sitting out there at No. 31.

Stricker at 49? Who knows how much he’ll end up playing this year? Who knows how much Captain Watson will feel he needs to spend a pick on the battle-tested Stricker, whose vaunted putter let him down late at the 2012 Medinah Ryder Cup.

For that matter, who knows how much Watson winced late Sunday when Walker needed both hands on the steering wheel late in his round at Pebble before escaping with a one-shot victory after beginning the day ahead by six?

Those are the kinds of statements flinty captains like Watson don’t like to see from prospective team members.

So let the second-guessing begin in earnest. The Ryder Cup doesn’t begin until the end of September in Scotland. Let the Twitter din commence. Let the hot topics flow. Let the avalanche of words cascade.

It happens every other year.

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