Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed lead at The Barclays, could wrap up automatic Ryder Cup spots

By Jerry Zgoda
Published on
Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed lead at The Barclays, could wrap up automatic Ryder Cup spots

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- A shot off Saturday's lead and currently holding the final automatic qualifying spot for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, four-time PGA Tour winner Patrick Reed is due, one might say, to put the hammer down in Sunday's final round of The Barclays tournament.

Only thing is, he has already done that.

Reed did so Tuesday afternoon at the New York Stock Exchange, where he rang out the day's trading by hammering a gavel that separated head from handle the third and final time he struck it. The head flew from the balcony on which Reed and many NYSE officials had gathered and tumbled onto the trading floor, making for a bit of video that quickly went viral.

"I'm trending," said Reed, who at 8 under par trails 2014 American Ryder Cup teammate and longtime pal Rickie Fowler by a stroke. "They told me to give it three good whacks and don't be that person who just taps it so no one can hear it. So I gave it three good whacks."

WATCH: Patrick Reed breaks gavel at New York Stock Exchange

He was able to put the gavel back together and took it home for a souvenir. On Sunday, Reed has the chance to do something similar by ringing out the U.S. Ryder Cup team's qualifying process with a finish that will move him off the bubble and well up the final standings.

The top eight on the points list at The Barclays' conclusion Sunday will play for the United States against Europe at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska a month from now. U.S. captain Davis Love III will name three wild-card picks at Hazeltine National on Sept. 12 and one more final pick to complete his 12-man team at halftime on "Sunday Night Football" on Sept. 25.

A day later, both teams fly to Minnesota for the biennial three-day competition that begins Sept. 30.

RYDER CUP: American Standings | Meet the U.S. Team

Reed and Fowler are well-positioned to grab two of the three remaining automatic spots now that Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka all have clinched their invitations. Fowler is 12th in the rankings after he went directly from the Rio Olympics to last week's Wyndham Championship hoping to earn more points because he calls next month's Ryder Cup "my No. 1 priority."

Five other players -- pole-sitter Brandt Snedeker, two-time major winner Zach Johnson, big-hitting J.B. Holmes, two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson and Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar -- also are competing Sunday for those final three spots.

Fowler and Reed will play in Sunday's final group at rugged Bethpage Black. They played a group apart in Saturday's final two pairings.

"I'm ready," said Reed, who has nine top-10 finishes this season but not a victory. "I felt like I've been ready all year."

At stake are big FedEx Cup playoff points, a $1.53 million winner's payday and the 1,530 Ryder Cup points that go with the money. If the two keep the field away and finish top-two together, each should win a Ryder Cup spot.

"I think it's pretty simple," Fowler said. "I've just got to go take care of business tomorrow."

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Fowler saw Reed on the putting green before Saturday's rounds and told him they both should go get in Sunday's final group. Each did. The two former junior golf competitors will play in Sunday's final pairing.

"We're going to have some fun," Fowler said. "We spent a lot of time together growing up. We've been around each other for, what, 12 or 13 years now. So it will be fun. He's fun to watch, and he's going to be tough to beat tomorrow."

An American winner Sunday will get those 1,530 points, enough to move either Reed or Fowler into the top four. Lower finishes for either would complicate the math, more so for Fowler than Reed.

"If I win, I won't have to worry about any of that," Fowler said.

If Reed should win, that might get him trending again, even if the victory doesn't provide an internet moment like Tuesday's did.

"That was awesome," Reed said. "I don't think even 30 minutes after it happened, they had ProTracer on it. It was pretty cool."

This article was written by Jerry Zgoda from Star Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.