Ryder Cup - US team nearing completion
US team nears completion with the automatic qualifying places now confirmed
It may have been a European who secured the final major of the year with Rory McIlroy winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, but the tournament proved equally important for players from the USA as the top eight places for the 2012 Ryder Cup were confirmed.
The tournament proved most significant for veteran Phil Mickelson, who managed to hold on to the final automatic qualification spot after those further down the list failed to mount a serious challenge in South Carolina. Mickelson will make a record ninth Ryder Cup appearance at Medinah, surpassing Raymond Floyd as the most capped Ryder Cup player to represent the USA.
Despite only securing three tournament wins in the last three years, Tiger Woods sits at the top of the points standings and will play in his seventh Ryder Cup. Also making return appearances will be Masters winner Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
The team is guaranteed to contain three debutants, with Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson qualifying in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
With four places to fill, Love does have a certain amount of flexibility but will need to be prepared for movement in the rankings between now and September 4th
With those eight players having secured their plane tickets to Illinois, all that remains to be seen is who Davis Love opts to choose as his wildcard picks. With four places to fill, Love does have a certain amount of flexibility but will need to be prepared for movement in the rankings between now and September 4th - the day on which the final team will be announced.
Hoping to force their way into contention are experienced duo Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, as are Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. With all five having previously been expected to make the team, the decision will now hinge on what happens over the next month. Mahan is expected to make the team having had two wins this year, with the most likely option being an omission for either Fowler or Johnson.
However Love decides to complete his team, it seems clear that the US will be formidable opponent for the Europeans when the Ryder Cup begins on September 25th.