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2018 Ryder Cup Update: Is Tiger Woods Staying Home?

Alex Kilpatrick

by Alex Kilpatrick in Golf

Updated Jun 26, 2018 · 11:47 AM PDT

Bubba Watson Ryder Cup
Bubba Watson at the 2012 Ryder Cup, where a Sunday loss helped cost the US a win. Photo by Omar Rawlings (Flickr) [CC License].
  • We have the low down on the players most likely to make the US Ryder Cup team
  • Tiger woods is 39th in the rankings, although could get a captain’s pick
  • Did Phil Mickelson cost himself a captain’s pick at the US Open?

The US is trying to win its first Ryder Cup abroad since 1993, and to do it will require a team of the best golfers in the world. Currently leading the standings are some of the biggest names in the sport, and with just a few months before the full team is announced on September 9th, we’re previewing the players most likely to make the trip to Paris.

2018 US Ryder Cup Selection Standings

Here are the current standings for the 2018 Ryder Cup team:

Rank Player Points Total
1 Brooks Koepka 8919.409
2 Dustin Johnson 7809.287
3 Patrick Reed 7639.916
4 Justin Thomas 6727.053
5 Bubba Watson 5388.024
6 Jordan Spieth 4819.806
7 Rickie Fowler 4356.227
8 Bryson DeChambeau 4196.116
9 Webb Simpson 4027.534
10 Phil Mickelson 3979.592

Keep in mind that only the top eight players automatically get a spot, and that the final four players are picked by team captain Jim Furyk. For more about how US team selection works, see our previous article about this topic below.

Players earn points by winning money at 2018 PGA Tour events, with double points awarded for winning a major and 1.5x points awarded for all other results at a major. This system is designed to reward consistent performers, as well as almost guarantee major winner a spot on the team.

The 2018 Ryder Cup Team, Right Now

By defending his US Open championship, Brooks Koepka scored himself an almost insurmountable number of points. If that was his only result, Koepka would be near on the bubble with 4320 points, edging out Bryson DeChambeau.

Koepka is obviously in great form and played unbelievably consistent, strong golf at Shinnecock Hills. If you’re wondering how the US team will fare in the moody, ugly conditions of European golf courses, you at least don’t have to worry about Koepka, who played just fine in the wind and varying conditions while the best golfers in the world had meltdowns:

Next on the points list in Dustin Johnson, who would have two majors this year if he could putt at all. He’ll be great in match play, as his long driving puts a lot of pressure on opponents to make risky approach shots. He’s also underrated with the irons, although part of his success with the irons can also be attributed to his distance off the tee.

Patrick Reed was a hero at the 2016 Ryder Cup, beating Rory McIlroy in a thrilling match that nobody expected, and with the green jacket he won this year he’ll be on the plane to Paris. It’ll be thrilling to watch the hyper-competitive and hyper-American get into it in Paris, and I would pay good money for behind-the-scenes footage of Patrick Reed interacting with the French public. He’s still wearing his 2016 gear, so at the very least it’ll be good to get him a new umbrella.

From there we start looking at players who aren’t exactly having a charmed 2018. Pretty much anything would be a letdown after Justin Thomas’s meteoric 2017 season, but his Honda Classic win, second place at the WGC-Mexico, and fourth at the WGC-Match Play are a nice consolation.

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship just last weekend, and his match play credentials were established earlier this year by blowing out the WGC-Match Play.

Bubba Watson has been in great form since abandoning his Volvik endorsement, which is maybe not a coincidence. He won the Travelers Championship (and $1.26 million) just last weekend, and his match play credentials were established earlier this year by blowing out the WGC-Match Play. Everyone in Europe hates Bubba, but that shouldn’t affect him too much because everyone in the US hates him too.

Jordan Spieth is a real question mark. For reference, here are three articles to consider:

I think something might be going on with Jordan Spieth! The bulk of his points come from a third at the Masters, and he’s missed some big cuts and had some disappointing results since then. If he continues to trend downwards, and misses the cut at another major, he could be looking at the edge of the bubble come September 3rd.

Rickie Fowler got a ton of points by finishing a solo second at the Masters, and has had decent performances since then. Finishing T20 at the US Open isn’t exactly an inspiring performance, but it’s better than Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Tiger Woods could manage.

The last player in the top 8 is Bryson DeChambeau, who is annoyingly successful on the golf course. He studied physics at SMU, talks about Newtonian mechanics a lot, uses single length irons, and was recently caught with a compass on the green looking for “true pin locations.” It is thus infuriating that he won the Memorial Tournament, came second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and altogether I preferred when he missed two cuts in a row.

Who is most likely to get a captain’s pick?

You’d say Phil Mickelson, who’s currently tenth in the standings, but with his antics at the US Open it’s possible he gets left behind for violating the sanctity of the game, or whatever. He’s apologized, and nobody was in any way harmed, but golf would be nothing without pearl clutching and if there’s anyone dumb enough to leave Phil Mickelson out of the Ryder Cup, it is the PGA.

Including Tiger would probably multiply the viewership numbers of the event, which is why the PGA will take any excuse to do it, but he hasn’t exactly given them the cover they need.

Tiger Woods would be a controversial pick at this point, he’s been so volatile in 2018 and is currently 39th in the points standings. Including Tiger would probably multiply the viewership numbers of the event, which is why the PGA will take any excuse to do it, but he hasn’t exactly given them the cover they need. If Tiger wins a tournament this year, expect him to go to Paris and spray drives all over the French countryside.

Tony Finau would be a great pick, he made a very fun run for it at the US Open and is quickly becoming one of the more exciting young players on tour.

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