'Battle of giants' in Ryder Cup

Annette Crawford
August 11, 2018

"I understand why Europeans like it so much, why they've been so fond of the course and talk so highly about it. So why is he so driven to be part of next month's U.S. Ryder Cup side?

"It's stressful", he said. I'm trending. So that's all I'm going to say.

"I played in a lot of final groups and I haven't played well enough when it's counted". You're trying to figure out how No. 9, 10, and 11 played.

That's why he sent a text to Schauffele, the PGA Tour rookie of the year last season who contended deep into the British Open on Sunday until a bogey on the 17th hole left him two shots behind.

"I was trading some information with Xander".

"Just the fact I'm playing the tour again, just for me to be able to have this opportunity again, is a dream come true". "So I think he's an easy pick from that regard and the way he's been playing, if I was on the other side, I wouldn't want him picked, so that's another good reason".

Thomas secured his place Sunday by winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, joining world number one Dustin Johnson, reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed and two-time US Open victor Brooks Koepka. They are followed by Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson, who has a narrow lead over Bryson DeChambeau. Phil Mickelson is 10th. Mickelson has never had to rely on being a captain's pick, dating to his first team he made in 1995.

"It's unbelievable to be in that group, to make it that far", said Love, whose first major was the 1986 PGA. He chose to not to.

"It's not like there's any groundbreaking stuff I learned", Thomas said. He and Furyk share the same management company, which has provided Furyk a window into an intelligent young player who turns 25 next month.


Then there is the question of Tiger Woods, who lies 20th in the standings but on current form and career reputation looks increasingly unlikely to be ignored for a wildcard pick.

Among those in the top 50, Furyk also played once with Patrick Cantlay, Andrew Landry, Charles Howell III, Brandt Snedeker and James Hahn. The 12th and final spot will be finalized after the following week's BMW Championship. Everyone down to Chris Stroud at No. 85 in the standings has a mathematical chance by winning - maybe further down if the PGA raises its purse. This week's PGA champion will earn two points for every $1,000 earned and other competitors will receive 1.5 times the money they earn in points.

Furyk was in that spot two years ago - under consideration for a pick who was involved as a vice captain in deciding.

Woods will be in Paris one way or another.

"What goes on at a Ryder Cup, it's like basically a football game breaks out in the middle of a golf tournament", said Furyk. "Good iron players and good putters will be very successful".

That's because the tournament at Bellerive is the last points-paying event for the USA team for the Ryder Cup, and a crucial opportunity for European players to impress captain Thomas Bjorn.

"There are going to be six or seven names that really deserve a lot of thought", Bjorn said.

Woods, coming off spinal fusion surgery after missing most of the past two years with back pain, would need to win this week's PGA Championship to claim an automatic berth on points. "That's all my focus is on". He has been in the top 3 five times this year, including three runner-up finishes.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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