Sports

US PGA Championship: Major motivation for Ryder Cup hopefuls

US PGA Championship: Major motivation for Ryder Cup hopefuls

Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker and Justin Thomas have all won the year's final major since 2011.

By night's end Sunday, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk and European captain Thomas Bjorn - both of whom are competing this week - will have the top eight of their 12-man teams set, leaving their captain's picks to come next month.

Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson are now in the other automatic spots in a race that ends on Sunday after the US PGA Championship.

But for a major champion who has played eight Ryder Cups, the key now is to show a degree of form rather than qualify outright. "They've had a lot of success and we'll be looking to try to break that", Furyk said, noting he won't shy away from rookies when he and Bjorn make captain's picks to complete the rosters in September. "He knew then that I think he was on the mend and starting to play better". Close behind Simpson is Bryson DeChambeau, followed by Phil Mickelson and British Open runner-up Xander Schauffele.

This may help explain why Woods' has a starkly different Ryder Cup record in the three formats used in the competition.

"It's stressful, " Furyk said. 'You look at the world rankings right now, the top 20 players are dominated by Europeans and Americans.

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Only five Europeans have won more matches.

The aura surrounding the 14-times major champion in his prime affected his playing partners, said Furyk, who believes times have changed and that Woods can only be a positive force on the team at next month's event in Paris. It was just a reality that his status as one of the greatest golfers ensured a hoopla of distractions wherever he went.

Aug 7, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; Thomas Bjorn captain for the 2018 European Ryder Cup addresses the media during a press conference before Tuesdays practice round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club. "I'm not sure we'll be lacking that much".

Furyk played a fairly straight bat about whether he would select Woods, but perhaps exposed his hand when he said: "It's fun to see him (Woods) put himself in the mix and being 20th on the points (despite having played) few events is a pretty good spot".

"I just didn't think that would be fair to the guys", he said. "It probably isn't the best pairing for them". "As I said last week, I'm trending". Furyk said he was taken aback somewhat when Woods, who'd already named to be an assistant captain, approached Furyk in January to ask about the dual role of playing this year, too.

Love served as a caddie for his son at last year's US Open and 2017 PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas was once a teen prodigy sleeping in Love's house.


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