MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 20: Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team celebrates with team mate Steve Stricker during the Day Four Singles Matches of the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course on November 20, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PGA Tour players on the bubble have one more opportunity, at this week's Deutsche Bank Championship, to impress U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love. Steve Stricker would appear to be a lock as a wild-card pick for the squad, but much depends on who does what over Labor Day in Boston.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal may have tapped Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts for the final two spots on his Ryder Cup team, but his U.S. counterpart has the Labor day weekend in which to mull over his choices.
With eight spots already locked up based on Ryder Cup points, Davis Love III will announce next Tuesday, after the Deutsche Bank Championship, which four golfers will round out his squad for next month’s matches at Medinah. Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, Nos. 10 and 11 on the points list, likely figure high in Love’s ciphering, even though Hunter Mahan finished the eligibility period with more points than either player.
There are a few other Ryder Cup wannabes who could play their way into the conversation with strong outings at this week’s FedEx Cup event, which runs from Friday through Monday.
Steve Stricker: Captain Love offered a ringing endorsement during the PGA Championship for the veteran Ryder Cupper, who would appear to be a shoo-in for one of the remaining slots -- especially as one half of a successful, long-time Cup team with Tiger Woods. “If Steve Stricker was on the outside, we have a guy that likes playing with him,” Love told reporters. “That’s a lock.”
Jim Furyk: He spit the bit down the stretch of the U.S. Open and suffered a similar meltdown at the Bridgestone Invitational and has missed four cuts -- including from last week’s Barclays tourney. But Furyk has seven top-10s in 2012, was undefeated (5-0) at last year’s Presidents Cup, and has been a regular at the Ryder Cup since 1997.
Hunter Mahan: He may be No. 9 in points, but Mahan’s season has been a mixed bag. He has two missed cuts to go with his two wins and has no top-20 finishes since the British Open in July. While still a strong candidate, Love would like to see a solid performance at TPC Boston.
Rickie Fowler: No. 12 on the points list, Fowler notched his first tour win this season after an up-and-down start to the year. In addition to the Wells Fargo Championship victory, the 23-year-old carded a tie for second at The Players Championship, and both finishes were part of a streak of four straight top-10 results. Fowler’s season has been meh since May, with just one top-25 outcome, but he does have Ryder Cup chops after grabbing two halves in 2010.
Brandt Snedeker, Bo Van Pelt, Dustin Johnson -- Nos. 13, 14, an 15 in points, any member of the trio could hove into view if he plays well this weekend. Each brings pluses (Snedeker and Van Pelt are excellent putters and the former finished runner-up to Nick Watney at Bethpage; Johnson tied for third at The Barclays and has Cup experience) and minuses (just one win -- DJ’s St. Jude Classic triumph).
Nick Watney: His stock may be on the rise after outlasting Snedeker at Bethpage Black. But unless Watney goes back-to-back this week, it will have been too little, too late for the Californian who has just three other top-10s on his 2012 resume.