Johnson, Watson on Ryder Cup
He’s taking his booming drives to the Ryder Cup.
The question now is whether he will have Tiger Woods as one of his teammates.
Watson, who was 18th in the U.S. standings going into the final qualifying tournament, moved up to No. 3 with his runner-up finish at Whistling Straits to be one of eight Americans qualifying for the team.
“I made the Ryder Cup. So that’s all I care about,” Watson said.
Dustin Johnson, whose two-stroke penalty on a bizarre bunker ruling knocked him out of the playoff, tied for fifth and also secured a spot on the team.
Phil Mickelson led the standings for the first time in his career, followed by Hunter Mahan, Watson, Jim Furyk, Edgerton native Steve Stricker, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar, who nailed down the final spot when he tied for 10th at the PGA Championship.
Turns out Woods needed to finish at least in the top five to make the team. He shot 73 and tied for 28th. Woods wound up 12th in the standings and will need to be picked by U.S. captain Corey Pavin on Sept. 7 to make the team.
“I feel like my game is a lot better than it was last week, and given a little bit more time, it’s starting to head in the right direction now, which is good,” Woods said. “And I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, Corey will pick me on the team.”
Watson was one of four Americans who have never played in the Ryder Cup. Neither has Johnson, while Overton became the first American to make the Ryder Cup team without ever having won a PGA Tour event.
Last time, Oliver Wilson of England made the European side without ever having won as a pro. He still hasn’t.
Kuchar bumped out Anthony Kim, the star of the U.S. victory at Valhalla two years ago. He looked like a lock until thumb surgery three months ago. Kim only returned to the PGA Tour last week at Firestone. He was sixth in the standings, but with double points available in the final major, was passed by Watson, Johnson and Kuchar.
Lucas Glover, who was
No. 8 in the standings before the week began, missed the cut at Whistling Straits.
The focus now shifts to those who did not make the team, starting with Woods.
He has repeated twice this week that he wants to play, which would suggest he would get a pick from Pavin.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson was one shot out of the lead and couldn’t find a birdie over the last two, long holes at Whistling Straits. He wound up 11th in the standings, having started the week at No. 21.
He wasn’t sure if his performance helped his chances. Johnson will have The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship, the first two playoff events, to make one more impression.
“I didn’t hurt my chances,” he said.
Former British Open champion Stewart Cink made a birdie on the last hole Saturday morning to make the cut, and he wound up in a tie for 18th to remain outside the standings.
“I’m proud of myself the way I came back,” Cink said. “I played very, very well. I played probably some of the best golf all year the last three rounds. It hasn’t been a great year, but this is encouraging for me.”