How are the US and European Ryder Cup teams shaping up?
With only a few weeks to go until the 2018 Ryder Cup, teams are getting closer to being finalised and the race is on for those wanting to gain either automatic qualification for European or those final four Wildcard spots for either teams.
For the United States team, the top eight have already been confirmed and there is very little time left until the four wildcard choices will be picked by Captain Jim Furyk.
Meanwhile, the European players have just one tournament to go before the culmination of all of the points at the Made in Denmark tournament on September 2nd. Captain Thomas Bjorn will them name his four wildcard picks Live on Sky Sports on Wednesday the 5th of September.
So who is in, and who still has a bit of work to do to get in to the Ryder Cup teams?
Team USA: Who is in already?
Confirmed in Team USA are: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.
In the last couple of weeks there have been some big charges from players hoping to make it in as the four wildcard picks.
One of those is Bryson DeChambeau, who claimed his third PGA Tour title at The Northern Trust on Sunday, likely tying up his spot as a rookie on the team. Vice Captain Tiger Woods had already made it clear he wants him on the team a few weeks ago, and his latest win makes it a near certainty.
"We want him on that team," Woods had said during his press conference at the PGA Championship. "Bryson is very analytical as we all know, but what most of the guys don't know is how competitive he is. He is very fiery, very competitive, and that's the type of person we want on the team. We want someone who is fiery, who will bleed red, white and blue. We want those type of players on the team."
Other players vying for a spot are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner.
Captain Jim Furyk insisted that he will treat Vice-Captain Tiger Woods (20th) like any other player hoping to make the team, but we reckon the 14-time major champion looks set to make it given his recent results – which includes a T6 at the Open Championship and PGA Championship. He also didn’t have a chance to gain any points in 2017, which makes his 20th spot in the USA rankings more impressive.
Phil Mickelson has been a fixture of the Ryder Cup team since 1995. He claimed his first victory after 5 years at the WGC Mexico earlier this year and seems to be trending back in the right direction after a slight drop in form after the putting-green incident at the US Open, finishing T15 at The Northern Trust.
Final Ryder Cup Points Standings: USA
For full standings, click here
|USA Points List||Points||USA Points List||Points|
|1. Brooks Koepka||13,298.472
||11. Tiger Woods||4,196.794
|2. Dustin Johnson||9,549.287
||12. Xander Schauffele||3,924.096
|3. Justin Thomas||8,929.122
||13. Matt Kuchar||3,843.696
|4. Patrick Reed||7,821.880
||14. Kevin Kisner||3,680.121
|5. Bubba Watson||5,584.137
||15. Tony Finau||3,512.021
|6. Jordan Spieth||5,481.427
||16. Kyle Stanley||3,434.166
|7. Rickie Fowler||5,006.112
||17. Brian Harman||3,321.457
|8. Webb Simpson||4,534.745
||18. Kevin Na||3,295.710
|9. Bryson DeChambeau||4,316.108
||19. Gary Woodland||2,826.665
|10. Phil Mickelson||4,207.953
||20. Zach Johnson||2,645.833
Team Europe: Who is in already?
The race to make the European team is a little more complicated, with players having a chance to gain one of the top eight spots through either the top four on the European points list or top four on the World’s points list. And with one tournament still in hand, there's a lot to play for.
Francesco Molinari stormed to the top of the European Points list after wins at both the BMW Championship and his first major at Carnoustie in the 147th Open. He also tops the World points list – and will be making his first appearance since 2012. Rose will join him, lying second on both the World Points and European points list.
Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood are also definites to guarantee their spots as rookies on the team, lying third and fourth in the European points list and fifth and sixth on the World points list. Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are similar, currently qualifying in the first two spots in the World’s Points list thanks to the weighting being given first to the European list, while Alex Noren is the third qualifier and likely won't be overtaken.
The last spot, currently occupied by Thorbjorn Olesen, is the most precarious heading in to the final event. He recently overtook Ian Poulter, who had pushed out Paul Casey - both of whom will be hoping to return to team Europe.
Then there's the likes of stalwarts Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, while 2016 Ryder Cup stand-outs Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters are also vying for a wildcard pick.
Garcia is probably one of the largest question marks. The 2017 Masters champion has dropped for 5th to 27rd in the World rankings since last year’s PGA Championship, and has missed five of his last 10 cuts. He did finish 8th at the HNA Open de France, but he still may find himself missing his first Ryder Cup since 2010 - although Captain Thomas Bjorn was quick to credit his ability to turn it around.
"Sergio's a world class player and he's got some weeks ahead of him where he wants to go out and achieve things, but we also know that Sergio is the type of player that can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden he goes on a great run of form," Bjorn had said at the PGA Championship.
"World class players, all of them goes in ups and downs, and the last few weeks he hasn't played his best, but he's still bobbling around, and there's still some good signs here and there, and he can turn it around very quickly.
"If he doesn't make it on merit, does he fit in there with where he is going through all of those points that I put down of making my picks? So I have to wait and see. But I would like to -- for Sergio's sake, I would like to see him probably putting in a bit better performances than he has because he's such a quality player and he brings so much to a European team when he's on form."
Current Standings: Europe
For full standings, click here
|European Points List||Points||World Points List||Points|
|Eddie Pepperell||2,503,672.42||Rafa Cabrera Bello||168.75|