Who will Jim Furyk be considering for his Ryder Cup captain's picks?
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 14/08/18 9:30am
Team USA captain Jim Furyk now knows his eight automatic qualifiers for the Ryder Cup next month, but who will he be considering for his wildcard choices?
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will need a captain's pick to board the plane for Paris, while Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar were among the familiar names who did not take the chance to force their way into the top eight when they missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
Furyk will name his first three wildcards after the Dell Technologies Championship, which concludes on Monday, September 3, and he will complete his line-up with one more captain's pick the following week.
Here, we take a look at the names in the frame ...
The Big Cat needed a victory at Bellerive to make the US Ryder Cup team for the first time since 2012, but his performance in the final major of the season should be enough to ensure he'll be at the forefront of Furyk's plans.
Woods has already been named as an assistant captain for Le Golf National, but he made no secret of his desire to be in France as a player as well, and it would take a brave man to leave him on the sidelines.
Since returning to PGA Tour action in January, when he was ranked 666th in the world, Woods clawed his way back into the top 50 and has posted five top-10 finishes, including two in the last two majors, and his thrilling final-round charge on Sunday is almost certain to secure his place in the US team.
The veteran left-hander is surely a lock to make his 12th consecutive appearance at the Ryder Cup after a consistent year which included a popular victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March.
Mickelson is hovering just outside the world's top 20 having been in danger of slipping out of the top 50 in January, and he was not far off saving Furyk a decision as he finished 10th in the Ryder Cup standings.
His performances in the last two showdowns with Europe have been impressive, winning four-and-a-half points from seven matches, and it is hard to see him being overlooked by Furyk this year.
"The Scientist" looked a certainty to make the team on merit after his superb win at The Memorial in June, but his form since has been a real mixed bag and missing the cut at the PGA Championship ended his hopes of a top-eight finish in the Ryder Cup standings.
DeChambeau suffered a worrying shoulder injury which forced him to pull out of the John Deere Classic, although he still travelled to Carnoustie and made the cut despite clearly being at odds with his swing - as demonstrated in the infamous footage of him struggling during practice.
The unorthodox 24-year-old then endured a remarkable collapse in the closing stages of the Porsche European Open, but with Justin Thomas currently the only rookie in the US team, Furyk would have no qualms about giving DeChambeau a debut, providing he can find some form over the first two events of the FedExCup Play-Offs.
Schauffele proved his liking for the big stage when he won last year's Tour Championship in Atlanta and was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, and although his form this year has been erratic, he has performed well in most of the high-profile events.
The talented 24-year-old enjoyed a runner-up finish at The Players Championship in May, and after a tie for sixth at the US Open, he was one of six players tied for the lead during the dramatic final round of The Open at Carnoustie before a bad run of holes left him too much to do to catch Francesco Molinari.
Schauffele missed out on his third major top-10 of the season at Bellerive after a disappointing final-round 72, but he would fit nicely into Furyk's line-up alongside fellow youngsters Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
A veteran of the last four Ryder Cup matches, Kuchar would be a dependable choice for Furyk in Paris, although his form in recent weeks has been a concern.
Kuchar did earn a respectable tie for ninth at The Open, but his missed cut at the PGA Championship was the fourth time in his last six starts that he has failed to play the weekend.
The 40-year-old has posted only three top-10 finishes all year and has not won on the PGA Tour in almost four-and-a-half years, and it would be a mild surprise to see his name added to Furyk's teamsheet as the US skipper already has plenty of experience in his line-up.
If Furyk considers results in the majors when he names his wildcard picks, then Finau is likely to be a big consideration having posted top-10s at The Masters, the US Open and The Open this year.
The big-hitting 28-year-old played alongside Furyk and Schauffele over the first two rounds at Bellerive, and he did well to make the cut after bouncing back from an opening 74 with a remarkable 66 in which he made seven birdies just on the front nine.
Finau is one of the longest hitters in the world and would be an exciting fourballs player in Paris, providing Furyk with an aggressive option that could be intimidating for the European team.
Zach Johnson has run into form of late and has not finished outside the top 20 in his last six starts, including an encouraging tied-19th at the PGA Championship.
Kyle Stanley and long-time Open leader Kevin Kisner have produced some encouraging golf in the last two majors, with Stanley also winning the race for second behind Justin Thomas at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Gary Woodland led the PGA Championship at the halfway stage and went on to finish tied for sixth after the birdie putts dried up over the weekend, while the likes of Kevin Na and Brian Harman could force their way into Furyk's thinking with big performances over the next fortnight.