Cup incentive for Mahan, Fowler and Snedeker in Boston
With U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III set to announce his four wildcard picks next Tuesday, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker are among those eager to impress at this week's Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston.
The eight automatic qualifiers were decided after this month's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and Love will round out his 12-man team when he names his captain's selections in a news conference at NASDAQ Marketsite in New York.
Cup veterans Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are widely expected to be included in that quartet, leaving players such as Mahan, Fowler, Snedeker, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Bo Van Pelt to vie for the remaining two spots.
Watney advanced his claims in champion style with a three-shot victory at the Barclays tournament in Farmingdale, New York, on Sunday, but readily concedes he was on the outside looking in at the start of last week.
"I haven't performed how I would have liked this year as far as making that team," said Watney, who languished 30th in the U.S. Cup standings after the PGA Championship before he went on to win his first PGA Tour title this season.
"But it's out of my control so all I can do is try to get ready to play (at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Massachusetts) and see where the chips fall.
"Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go. I'd love to be on the team."
Snedeker has also produced good form in a bid to secure a late Ryder Cup call-up by Love, finishing second at The Barclays for his fifth top-10 of the year on the PGA Tour.
"Ryder Cup's definitely on my mind, but I'm not letting it affect the way I play," said Snedeker, who clinched his third PGA Tour victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
"Try to win every golf tournament, try and press the gap. And if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them (Love and his vice-captains). I think I'm playing the best I can."
The top eight in the U.S. standings after the PGA Championship were Tiger Woods, Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Dufner, Bradley and Simpson will make their Ryder Cup debuts while Watson and Kuchar will each make their second appearances in the biennial team competition.
The next seven players in the U.S. standings were Mahan, Stricker, Furyk, Fowler, Snedeker, Van Pelt and long-hitting Johnson.
Stricker, a 12-times PGA Tour winner who has partnered Tiger Woods successfully on several U.S. teams, and Furyk, a veteran of seven Ryder Cups, are widely viewed as near-certain picks.
"If you look back over the last few Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, Tiger and Steve Stricker have been a really good pairing," Love said after the PGA Championship. "They are both very comfortable with it.
"Jim Furyk is great because you can put him with anybody. He would obviously add a lot of experience and a lot of stability. He's one of those guys that you just tell him what you want to do and he'll go do it."
The U.S. will take on Ryder Cup holders Europe in the 39th edition of the biennial competition from Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)