Ryder Cup hopefuls wait for Lehman's captain's picks
Some helped themselves mightily with strong showings at the PGA Championship, while others shot themselves out of contention. Now all that remains is waiting for a call from U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman to see if they made the cut.
By T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor
MEDINAH, Ill. -- There were many things that could have changed in the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings heading into the 88th PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club -- the last tournament in which points were available for U.S. players before September's matches at the K Club in Straffan, Ireland.
As it turns out, absolutely nothing did.
The following 10 players automatically qualified for the U.S. team once points closed Sunday after Tiger Woods' dominating win:
1. Tiger Woods -- 4,825.000
2. Phil Mickelson -- 2,474.375
3. Jim Furyk -- 2,076.000
4. Chad Campbell -- 1,129.602
5. David Toms -- 1,072.250
6. Chris DiMarco -- 830.000
7. Vaughn Taylor -- 780.833
8. J.J. Henry -- 778.750
9. Zach Johnson -- 756.477
10. Brett Wetterich -- 746.000
Only the top 10 finishers received points, which were worth double at the PGA. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman will announce his two captain's picks at a Monday news conference at 9 a.m. EDT. They will complete the 12-man squad that already features four Ryder Cup rookies.
Taylor, Johnson and Wetterich -- Nos. 7, 9 and 10, respectively on the points list coming into the PGA -- all missed the cut and had to sweat out what Stewart Cink (No. 12), Lucas Glover (No. 14), Davis Love III (No. 15) and Tim Herron (No. 17) would do on the weekend. John Rollins (No. 11) missed the cut.
That foursome of Cink, Glover, Love and Herron didn't do enough to crack the top 10. Herron had the best chance. He quickly got to 10 under par through five holes Sunday, but took a bogey at No. 6, another at No. 7 and a crushing double-bogey at No. 5 to fall all the way back to 7 under and out of Ryder Cup team contention. He would finish the tournament at 7-under and in a tie for 14th.
Love had a puncher's chance when he teed off on Sunday at 6 under par, but shot a disappointing 4-over-par 76 that included two bogeys and a double bogey over his last three holes to finish tied for 34th. Love has played in every Ryder Cup since 1993, the longest active streak of the Americans. He was fourth in the standings at the start of the year, but dropped down to 15th and needed a top-eight finish at the PGA for an automatic berth.
"[A strong finish] would have been seven Ryder Cups and 13 [international teams] in a row," Love said. "Maybe that's enough. I need to just put all this behind me and go try to win Akron and try to get back on track for next time."
Glover showed promise, making the cut in a major championship for the first time in his career at the PGA and even had a share of the first-round lead. However, his 1-over-par total on the weekend wasn't nearly enough to get the job done. He finished tied for 46th.
Finally, there was Cink. One of the captain's picks for the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, Cink made the cut at Medinah but finished tied for 24th.
Perhaps the feather in Cink's cap was the fact that he shot a 3-under-par 69 in the final round playing alongside U.S. assistant captain Corey Pavin. Just like in 2004, Cink will now have to rely on Lehman to turn to him as a captain's selection.
"It would mean a lot," Cink said of being a captain's pick. "It would definitely be the satisfaction of a huge goal of mine to make the team this year because of the fact that I've played on four of the last five teams in international competition and I really don't want to miss any. I feel like I can help the team and if I'm picked, I'll be honored and I'll try to represent the U.S. as best I can."
Pavin might just be lobbying for Cink on Sunday night.
"I always like what I see with Stewart," Pavin said. "He's an excellent player and he's had Ryder Cup experience obviously. If Tom asks me any questions tonight, I'll tell him what I saw out there and we'll talk about it."
Shaun Micheel, winner of the 2003 PGA Championship, did his best to get Lehman's attention on Sunday. Micheel posted a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to jump 92 spots from No. 128 to No. 36 and will have to wait and see if he gets the captain's nod.
"I don't expect a call," Micheel admitted. "I was actually lobbying for Davis Love. I talked to Corey Pavin on Friday, and I went up to him on the edge of the putting green, and I said, 'Look, if you're looking for a guy that's playing some really good golf, I'd look towards him.' I mean, I don't know how he finished, but in my view he was swinging about as well as I've seen him swinging. He was just playing great golf.
"I think I could help a team, not saying this would be the year, but I just think that I'm not afraid," Micheel added. "I think I showed that today, that I went out and gutted out a score. I don't know, I'm a grinder. I don't throw in the towel, and I think that's kind of what you need to have in a player because it's so challenging. Not only are you dealing with the golf but you're having to deal with all the stuff outside the golf with the fans, and of course playing for your country."
The Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 22-24 at The K Club, an Arnold Palmer design about 25 miles west of Dublin.