Is it too early to talk Ryder Cup? Of course not. It’s never too early.
The biggest Ryder Cup news to come out of the weekend is Martin Kaymer’s move into the ninth automatic qualifying spot for Europe with his win at the Players Championship on Sunday. Kaymer, you might remember, clinched the winning point for Europe two years ago at Medinah.
On Europe’s team at the moment are Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Thomas Björn, Henrik Stenson, Sergio García, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Kaymer.
The glaring omissions are Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, none of whom would qualify on points if it ended today. It makes European captain Paul McGinley’s job difficult.
On the U.S. side, Bubba Watson leads in points after his Masters victory and is followed by Jimmy Walker, who has won three times in this wraparound season on the PGA Tour. Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Jim Furyk round out the top five. Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson are the rest of the automatic qualifiers.
Jason Dufner and Harris English are at Nos. 11 and 12, respectively, while Webb Simpson is 14th.
And, of course, there’s Tiger Woods, who is recuperating from back surgery and without a timetable for his return to competitive golf. The last time the U.S. team was without Woods was at Valhalla in 2008. That was the last American victory.