Final chance for Ryder Cup candidates to impress

Deutsche Bank Championship represents chance for the likes of Luke Donald and Ian Poulter to press their wild card claims

 Rory McIlroy  in action during the pro-am event prior to the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston  in Norton, Massachusetts. Photo:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Rory McIlroy in action during the pro-am event prior to the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

 

 

The Deutsche Bank Championship offers a prize fund of almost €6.28 million with €1,094,000 going to the winner, but it will also effectively act as the last qualifying event for the Ryder Cup.
 
Although qualifying for the United States team ended after the US PGA Championship and does so for the European team in Italy on Sunday, the second FedEx Cup play-off event could have major implications for several players.
 
Both US captain Tom Watson and European counterpart Paul McGinley will name their three wild cards on Tuesday, the day after the Deutsche Bank concludes in Boston.
 
McGinley said on Wednesday that “something spectacular” could yet influence his decision, with Luke Donald and Ian Poulter both hoping to produce precisely that kind of performance to boost their case for a pick.
 
Donald, who has won 10 and a half points from 15 Ryder Cup matches, is currently 80th in the FedEx Cup and needs to finish inside the top 40 in Boston to qualify for the third play-off event, the BMW Championship. 
 
Climb inside 
 
Poulter, who has won 12 of his 15 previous Ryder Cup clashes, starts the week in 90th and needs to finish around 20th or better to climb inside the top 70 and claim a place in the field at Cherry Hills Country Club next week.
 
As for the American team, Hunter Mahan became favourite for a wild card with his victory in the first play-off event, which leapfrogged him above Rory McIlroy at the top of the standings.
 
Keegan Bradley, who was 13th in Ryder Cup qualifying, would also appear to be high on Watson’s radar despite missing the cut in the US PGA and finishing 53rd last week, his three wins out of three matches with Phil Mickelson at Medinah strongly in his favour.
 
Brandt Snedeker finished 20th in qualifying but looks to be rounding into form at the right time, finishing tied for 12th at the Bridgestone, 13th at the US PGA and fifth at the Wyndham Championship before missing the cut at The Barclays.
 
While the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to compete in Boston, only 94 players will start on Friday. Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey both withdrew for family reasons, with McDowell’s wife giving birth to the couple's first child on Monday while Casey’s fiancée is due to give birth shortly.
 
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose opted to rest ahead of the remaining events while Jason Dufner’s season is officially over after bulging discs in his neck forced another withdrawal. Dustin Johnson remains on an indefinite leave of absence.
 
The US will miss the big-hitting Johnson at the Ryder Cup more than former world number one Tiger Woods, according to 1991 European team member Paul Broadhurst.
 
“The US have lost two big players in Tiger and Dustin,” said Broadhurst. The Englishman told Reuters in an interview. “The way Tiger’s been playing the US will be better off without him. His Ryder Cup record isn’t brilliant but I’m sure he would have been on their team if he had been fit and his form had been half decent. I
think Dustin’s a bigger loss for the Americans because he’s such a powerful player. Gleneagles would have suited Dustin.”
 
 
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