The top 8 automatic bids for the United States Ryder Cup golf team have been solidified, and as you might expect, the American team if full of firepower. There are still 4 spots up for grabs, and that decision must be made by captain Davis Love III by September 4th. At the same time, the European side allows their players until August 26th to wrap up an automatic bid before their captain Jose Maria Olazabal adds his two captains picks.
The 8 automatic qualifiers for the American side are: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. The next 7 in terms of points, 4 of whom likely have the best shot at being selected by Love III are: Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, Bo Van Pelt and Dustin Johnson.
Based on their performances so far this year, I see Love III going with Mahan, Furyk, Snedeker and Johnson as his 4 picks. Admittedly, I have no idea what criteria he is using to make his decision, and things could change in the next two weeks before the deadline.
For the Europeans, Rory McIlroy has a commanding lead on the top spot, followed by: Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Colsaerts, Lee Westwood, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano and David Lynn in the top 12 spots as of this past Sunday. The next 5 in terms of points are Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Alvaro Quiros, Marcel Siem and Ian Poulter. As an aside, I find it interesting that Donald, the number 2 player in the world behind McIlroy is currently 7th in his own country’s Ryder Cup standings.
While the European team may not have as many household names (at least to Americans) as the U.S. side, they are sure to field a competitive team that will give the United States a run for their money when they meet at Medinah at the end of September.