Ryder Cup 2018: Tiger Woods' return to form has U.S. captain Jim Furyk excited

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Tiger Woods at the US PGA Championship (Getty Images)

Jim Furyk is excited to see Tiger Woods back in contention at majors as the deadline for his U.S. Ryder Cup captain’s picks draws closer.

Much to the excitement of the golfing world, Woods found his rhythm at the British Open at Carnoustie but saw his challenge fade down the stretch, as he finished sixth overall.

He was again in the mix Sunday at the PGA Championship at Bellerive as a superb 64 put him within touching distance of Brooks Koepka, Woods ending up two shots adrift of the eventual champion.

Woods’ improved form has seen him climb to 11th in the Ryder Cup rankings, and he is a hot favorite for a wild-card player spot at Le Golf National next month.

But Furyk would not be drawn into whether Woods, 42, would be guaranteed a spot for the defending champions.

“I’m not sure the [ranking] numbers are that important, what is important is how well Tiger has played,” he told a media conference Monday.

“Sixth at the Open, second at the PGA, his game is trending. It’s great to see him playing well, numbers are nice but the not most important. We want players who can make us successful.

“He’s playing very well and I know a lot of folks think he can [help us] but we really want to talk about the top eight today.

“But I realize he’s playing well, and I’m excited to see that.”

Furyk will name his first three picks on Sept. 3, with the final player to be announced after the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship six days later.

The Team USA captain says the door remains open for a number of players to stake their claims to be involved, and someone who finds form in the coming weeks would be hard to overlook.

Furyk’s automatically qualified top eight is headed by PGA champion Koepka, with the 28-year-old joined by Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.

As for the wild cards?

“We have an idea of who [the top eight] want to play with, who they want to pair with,” Furyk said. “But we have some big tournaments coming up, so we will get an opportunity to see some more guys play.

“If someone is playing hot he’ll catch the team’s eye. There is not defined a set number [of contenders], maybe we have eight on the radar but the door is open. 

“There is not a set number or set pool, just who is playing the best.”

Furyk said he is pleased with his automatic selections and believes they can help propel his team to victory in France.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in the eight, they know the task ahead of us, they know it will be tough, but I cannot be more excited about the eight and I have confidence in them.”