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Tiger Woods plays himself into contention for Ryder Cup team

Tiger Woods may have to sweat it out until Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk makes his four captain’s selections. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
Tiger Woods may have to sweat it out until Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk makes his four captain’s selections. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
By Dave Skretta Associated Press

ST. LOUIS – Jim Furyk will have to decide whether Tiger Woods is worthy of making his Ryder Cup team.

One of his vice captains sure thinks so.

After making a Sunday charge at the PGA Championship that came up just short of a victory – one that would have locked up his spot – Woods said he wants to do much more than just help Furyk call the shots as an assistant when the Americans head to France next month to defend the cup.

Woods wants to be hitting some shots, too.

“I do want to be on the team as a player. I’m going to be there either way,” said Woods, whose final-round 64 on Sunday left him two shots back of Brooks Koepka at raucous Bellerive Country Club.

“Our captain has some decisions to make after the first (FedEx Cup) playoff events, and we’ll sit down and give him our input and what we think and who should be on the team, and who can contribute to the team,” Woods said, “and hopefully my name will be part of that process.”

It’s a pretty safe bet.

The PGA was the last event to secure one of the top eight spots in the Ryder Cup standings and an automatic berth to the team. And for all the craziness that went down at Bellerive, there was no real movement among the eight players who secured their spots.

Koepka merely put an exclamation mark on his, while Justin Thomas showed he’s in fine form with a final-round 68 and top-10 finish. Dustin Johnson’s spot had already been secured, and Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler took any drama out of making the team simply by making the cut.

Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson missed it, but nobody outside the top eight made a big run, and that means the Masters champion will join Watson on the team.

Webb Simpson was on the shakiest ground heading into the weekend, holding down the final spot. But he answered with four solid rounds at Bellerive, capped by a 69 Sunday that left him with a top-20 finish, while closest pursuers Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

Mickelson ended a streak of making 11 consecutive Ryder Cup teams on points, though he is likely to earn one of the four captain’s selections when Furyk hands them out next month.

DeChambeau will be in the mix for one, but there are plenty of other names that will try to impress Furyk over the next few weeks. Xander Schauffele was 11th in the rankings before his solid finish at the PGA, while Kevin Kisner made an early run and finished in a tie for 12th.

Others that should get consideration include Tony Finau, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

“You want guys that are in good form, say, from the summertime on,” Furyk said. “You want guys that have had a good solid season. You want the very best players that you have the trust in as well.

“Now, that doesn’t mean to say that a guy could have had a relatively average summer, and he goes on a tear, plays well here at the PGA, goes to New York, goes to Boston and plays well. I mean, he becomes a contender. So I think the list has been narrowed, but it’s still open.”

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