With four months to go until the Ryder Cup team is named, Jim Furyk and his vice-captains will have plenty of selection headaches as they bid to name a strong team of 12 to face Team Europe in Paris on September 28.
With eight players selected from points gained at every PGA Tour event, WGC and major, the remaining four slots will be down to the team management.
Here, we take a look at our 12 as it stands.
Current points: 6,728.501
The Masters champion would have been part of the team regardless of his ranking, given his history in high pressure matches. He is unbeaten in singles (2-0-0) and fourballs (3-1-0) during his two Ryder Cup appearances. The 27-year-old has secured five top-10 finishes in his last six events and has the confidence and potential to be a future top-five player.
Current points: 6,352.273
The World No1 may not be the same household name as Justin Spieth and Dustin Johnson, but has proven to be equally as influential. It’s hard to imagine the 25-year-old has yet to play in the Ryder Cup, despite a career to date in which he has won eight PGA Tour titles, the FedEX Championship and a major. With 12 top-25 finishes and five top-10 finishes this season, the Kentucky native will be a serious addition to Furyk’s side in September.
Current points: 5,161.597
Held the number one ranking for 15 months up until his T17 finish at The Players earlier this month. At 33, Johnson has the most complete game in the sport and will be a pivotal figure when America set out to retain their Ryder Cup title in France. The Florida resident has 11 top-20 finishes in his last 12 tournaments, including a win and two second place finishes.
Current points: 4,795.306
Without a doubt, the most talented player in golf. Results may have not gone his way over the past 12 months but the 24-year-old is still a three-time major winner. Has proven to be a force with Reed in their last two Ryder Cup appearances and if he can improve his putting – his biggest strength in previous years – then expect him to add to his 11 career Tour wins before September’s showpiece. Will be America’s leading light at Le Golf National.
Current points: 4,479.348
Koepka may not have won the Fort Invitational last weekend, but the 28-year-old helped himself into fifth place in the Ryder Cup rankings after a solid second place finish. The Florida man was playing the best golf of his career this time 12 months ago and went on to clinch a first major at the US Open. Injuries may have restricted his progress since January, but he is slowly getting back to his competitive best. If he can start holing bunker shots like his birdie on the par-4 6th last Sunday, then he will be back on top of the leaderboards again soon.
Current points: 4,102.303
The 39-year-old famously missed out on the 2016 edition despite holding a top-8 raking at the moment. Stepping in as a vice-captain, the Florida man used his presence to help the Americans to a first title since 2008. But two tournament wins this year – along with fifth at the Masters – has seen Watson return to his immaculate best and he now looks a dead certainty to earn his fourth Ryder Cup appearance.
Current points: 3,932.347
A career best second at the Masters earlier this year will have boosted the confidence of Fowler, who looks set to make the Ryder Cup team for a fourth time – at just 29. Has shown a penchant for heating up on the grand stage and will be bidding to better his 2-4-5 record in previous Ryder Cups. At present, his form looks mixed, with nine top-25s over his last 13 starts – including three missed cuts.
Current points: 3,673.247
The ultimate warrior. Mickelson has played in a record 11 consecutive Ryder Cups for America and looks like a lock to play for a 12th time. The five-time major winner has never had to rely on a captain’s pick due to his consistency to finish inside the top eight each year. In March, the 47-year-old beat Justin Thomas in a playoff to win the 43rd tournament of his career at the WGC-Mexico Championship. His leadership and composure will be unrivaled when Furyk and Co travel to Europe later this year.
Current points: 3,622.307
The Players Championship winner has had four top-10s this season. His win at Sawgrass was perhaps his finest as he jumped from 29 to nine in the Ryder Cup rankings. It looks likely he will make his third appearance for America.
Current points: 3,247.928
The 39-year-old has played in four Ryder Cups and finished in a season-best eighth place at the Houston Open in April. A reliable performer, expect the world No23 to step up as the summer progresses.
Current points: 2,910.265
Finished third at the Tournament of Champions and would bring buckets of determination to the table if selected as a wildcard. The 31-year-old has yet to play in the Ryder Cup but is composed in high pressure situations, making 17 of the last 19 cuts.
Current points: 2,378.567
Took a massive stride towards his first Ryder Cup appearance with a dominant victory at AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas. Could the 21-year-old be the next great under-30 USA member, following in the footsteps of Spieth, Fowler, Reed, Thomas and Koepka?
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