ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | By late afternoon Sunday, Jim Furyk will have the bulk of his U.S. Ryder Cup team determined.
Then comes the hard part.
Eight automatic qualifiers will be set after the PGA Championship – Rickie Fowler is currently seventh, Webb Simpson eighth and Bryson DeChambeau ninth – leaving Furyk with four picks to be made over the coming weeks. (See U.S. rankings below)
The popular game at the moment is guessing who Furyk’s four picks would be if the standings remain as they are after the final round at Bellerive.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods – currently 10th and 20th in points, respectively – seem like locks to be on the team.
Matt Kuchar, currently 12th, is likely to be added if he doesn’t jump up the points list this week.
That leaves one spot, if Furyk follows what is considered most likely.
Does he take whomever finishes ninth in points? What about Xander Schauffele (currently 11th) or Tony Finau (13th) or Kevin Kisner (15th)?
So many questions. Here’s how Furyk responded to various queries (edited for brevity) Wednesday morning at Bellerive:
With the U.S. having not won on foreign soil in 25 years, does that make him less likely to add Ryder Cup rookies this time (currently Justin Thomas is the only would-be first-time player among the top eight in points):
“I think I would go with no as a basic answer,” Furyk said. “It’s no secret. We’re trying to provide the best 12 players we possibly can and who’s going to help us be most successful. And that can come from both veterans, that can come from rookies as well.
Has Furyk narrowed down his list of potential captain’s picks?
“I think the list has been narrowed, but it’s still open, if that makes sense,” he said.
Did Furyk ask to be grouped with Schauffele and Finau in the first two rounds of the PGA this week?
“I didn’t ask for it. I think it’s a great pairing for me. It probably isn’t the best pairing for them,” he said.
Will Woods, a vice captain, have to recuse himself when he is the subject of discussion about captain’s picks?
“I’ve known Tiger for a long time, and we’re friends, and I respect him. It’s not going to be a difficult process as far as him having to recuse himself, and we’ll work through those situations and issues,” Furyk said.
Has Woods shown enough already to assure himself a playing spot?
“It’s fun to see him put himself in the mix, and being 20th on the points (list) with very few events is a pretty good spot,” Furyk said.
Will Furyk keep a running points total after the top eight spots are locked down at the PGA Championship to factor into his captain’s picks?
“I think we did that in the past. Obviously, I have a stats team in place that will run every number possible. I think we’ll look at our points list now. We’ll keep a running points list. We’ll look at (the World Golf Ranking). We’ll look at current form, who’s played well from, say, possibly the U.S. Open on, the Masters on, who’s playing well right now.
“I think we’ll look at trying to break down the golf course. We’ll look at what we believe is going to – what type of player is going to be successful at the golf course. I think we’ll look at what we have on our team right now, what we think could, A, could help our team, what pairings we have at that time, and guys we think that can help out in pairings.”
U.S. Ryder Cup Standings (August 8)
|Top 8 automatically qualify|