Sunday's PGA Championship was the final chance for players to play their way into a guaranteed slot on the Ryder Cup team, and a couple did just that. Unfortunately, for every man that's in, another one bounces out, and thus becomes a potential captain's pick. So let's take a look, shall we?
First off, the final eight are as follows, in order of qualifying: Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar. Missing out: Anthony Kim, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods and a bunch of other guys.
So who played their way in? Exactly who you'd expect. Bubba Watson rode his playoff up 15 spots, from No. 18 to No. 3. And Dustin Johnson couldn't ground his own chances to make the Ryder Cup, going from the bubble spot of No. 9 up to No. 5.
Alas, two players got the boot, but considering how they're playing, it's not the greatest of tragedies. Lucas Glover dropped out of the instant-in status because he missed the cut with a couple of ugly rounds. The exact same could be said for Anthony Kim, still coming back from a thumb injury.
So that takes us to the next stage of the game, the captain's picks. U.S. captain Corey Pavin gets four picks to round out his team, and here's how I think they should go (current rank in parentheses):
Tiger Woods (12). Why? Because he's Tiger freaking Woods. You don't look at the stats, you just shut up and pick him. Best golfer in history, and you're going to leave him on the bench? Come on. He's in.
Zach Johnson (11). Steady as they come. He'll be a calming presence on a team heavily made up of rookies. Can withstand the taunts of the European crowds.
Anthony Kim (9). Unstoppable during 2008, and his enthusiasm for the Ryder -- he sat out two majors so he'd be ready for the Ryder -- make him a sure bet.
Stewart Cink (14). He's a veteran presence, and like Johnson will be able to keep his head and keep focused -- and perhaps keep a few of the youngsters' heads screwed on right -- during the intense pressure of the Ryder.
Now, that leaves Lucas Glover, Nick Watney and other talented guys at home, but that's how it shakes out sometimes. Still, that's a fine slate of golfers we've got guaranteed. It won't be easy, but we'll have those Euros begging for mercy soon enough.
And your picks are ... ?