The 2018 Ryder Cup promises to be one for the ages, and U.S. captain Jim Furyk might not have to make very many tough decisions when making his picks.
Furyk gets four captain’s picks to round out the team. Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas have already automatically qualified.
It’s generally been assumed Phil Mickelson and resurgent Tiger Woods, who is also a vice captain, will occupy two of Furyk’s four captain’s picks, leaving two available spots.
Bryson DeChambeau, who was ninth in the standings, just missing out on automatic qualification, won by four shots last week at The Northern Trust – the first FedEx Cup playoff event. He seems like a lock now, and Woods hinted at that Sunday.
7 Ryder Cup hopefuls looking to get hot during the FedEx Cup playoffs: https://t.co/im219s5OCL pic.twitter.com/hrt7ODNzqe
— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) August 22, 2018
Woods, 42, and Mickelson, 48, have some fitness concerns. Woods, who had not played in the playoffs since 2013, returned to form this year after four back surgeries since 2014. Playing five out of six weeks before the Ryder Cup could be a tough ask of the 14-time major champion.
Assuming Woods, Mickelson and DeChambeau remain healthy over the next three weeks, they look destined to occupy three of Furyk’s picks. But who will earn the last spot?
Xander Schauffele finished 12th in the standings after strong finishes at the British Open and Players Championship. But he has been invisible for long stretches making him a risky selection. Tony Finau, with three runners-up finishes this season including last week, may be the favorite. He has to fend off veterans Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson.
Possibly the most intriguing player to bring to France is Billy Horschel. The 2014 FedEx Cup champion finished t-3 last week and has three top-11 finishes in his last five stats. He’s also a very aggressive player who could be used to get under the European team’s skin.
A matchup between Ian Poulter and Horschel would be must-see T.V.
While Furyk’s work looks relatively easy, Thomas Bjorn has a much more difficult decision with his European squad. He also has four picks, but Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ross Fisher and Poulter are all in need of picks.