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Player: Jim Furyk

  • The PGA Tour heads to Cancun, Mexico, going for the penultimate event of the calendar year, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. El Camaleon is a fun host course, and on it unfolded a great three-man playoff last year, with Graeme McDowell beating Russell Knox and Jason Bohn to pull out a surprise win.

    This field is loaded with strong young players, as well a few veterans who are making their first appearance on the Riviera Maya.

    Here are our top five players this week:

    1. Russell Knox – Knox lost here to G-Mac in a playoff last year. Had a win at the Travelers this year and a modest title defense at the HSBC Champions.

    2. Jon Rahm – Rahm top-10-ed here last year an amateur, and he has top-15 finishes in his pair of starts this season. It’s a matter of time before he wins.

    3. Jim Furyk – Furyk isn’t typically a Cancun guy, but he’s played strong golf since coming back to a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open.

    4. Keegan Bradley – Bradley has surged back into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking on the back of great play. Back-to-back top-seven finishes in Malaysia and Vegas.

    5. Emiliano Grillo – Grillo has become a consistent PGA Tour player, which is a remarkable trend. He’s become a top-20 machine.

    Russell Knox is the top of the field this week. (Getty Images)

    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Bubba Watson is a part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. (Getty Images)

    Bubba Watson didn’t play well enough to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and he didn’t impress captain Davis Love III enough to merit any of four wild-card picks at his disposal. However, Watson’s impassioned plea to Love to somehow be a part of the American side at Hazeltine National has landed him a consolation prize.

    On Monday, Love named Watson his fifth vice-captain, joining Tiger Woods, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker with a cart and an earpiece on the ground in Minnesota.

    “Bubba Watson was obviously disappointed not to be on the team. But as our team has really bonded together over the last couple months, Bubba has offered a couple times to come and be one of our assistant captains, and I told him we had an extra red cart and we’d love to have him,” Love said Monday.

    The 37-year-old, two-time Masters winner finished ninth in the points standings, missing out on one of eight automatic qualifying spots on the team. In the PGA Tour playoffs, Watson didn’t shine, extending a streak without a top-10 finish that dates back to March.

    However, Watson, who has a 3-8-0 record in three appearances as a player, did make an impression in an informal practice session at Hazeltine on Monday ahead of the PGA Tour season-ending Tour Championship. Afterward, Watson said he texted Love to say that he wanted to be a vice-captain if he couldn’t earn the final wild-card pick. Ryan Moore’s weekend performance, including a four-hole playoff showdown with winner Rory McIlroy, as well Moore’s play since the PGA Championship, landed him the last spot.

    Watson’s response to the bad news surprised Love.

    “And then I called [Watson] and told him that I was going a different direction again, and he immediately said, ‘I still want to be a part of this team, if you’ll have me,'” Love recalled.

    Love said his team was equally as shocked, and pleased, to welcome Watson to the team room.

    “When I told the team members and assistant captains that were there last night, we’re still in disbelief,” he said. “I mean, Bubba’s back there changing from player clothes to assistant captain clothes right now. We have a bag with his name on it already made. We don’t have gifts for him as assistant captain, but it was just an incredible gesture, and I think that shows where our team is.”


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Ryan Moore gave it his all on Sunday at East Lake. (Getty Images)

    The Task Force got it right.

    Ryan Moore had played some of the best golf on the PGA Tour since the PGA Championship at the end of July, and he concluded the PGA Tour season on Sunday with a close call at the Tour Championship. He nearly beat Rory McIlroy in a four-hole playoff at East Lake, going toe-to-toe with the four-time major winner and Europe’s best player.

    Moore may have come up short of the win, but his effort made it clear: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III had no choice but add the UNLV product to his team with his fourth and final wild-card pick.

    The pick was revealed at halftime of Sunday Night Football in a muted announcement after word spread of the passing of Arnold Palmer earlier in the day.

    In a 56-day stretch since the end of the PGA Championship, Moore made seven starts, winning the John Deere Classic, and finishing tied for 7th at The Barclays and tied for eighth place at the Deutsche Bank Championship. However, going into the week, Moore seemed an afterthought to make the Ryder Cup team. On Monday, Love invited Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger to Ryder Cup host Hazeltine National for an informal practice session. It seemed Love had trained his eye on these three players.

    However, what unfolded late on Sunday in Atlanta didn’t involve any of those three players.

    Moore and Kevin Chappell, who already had three runner-up finishes this season, played their way into a playoff with McIlroy, perhaps a somewhat symbolic situation. Chappell, still seeking his first PGA Tour win, was eliminated on the first playoff hole with a par. However, Moore extended the playoff thanks to a gutsy birdie on a snaking putt at the par-5 18th. The make may well have rattled McIlroy enough to miss a 6-foot eagle putt.

    The playoff continued for three more holes, and Moore didn’t give in. Even facing a putt similar in difficulty to the first playoff hole, Moore made a par putt that roused the crowd amid the fading daylight at East Lake. Moore made McIlroy make birdie to beat him.

    When the Ryder Cup Task Force, and later, the Ryder Cup Committee, came together to transform the U.S. approach to the biennial matches, a decision was made to elongate the selection process to give the American captain a chance to see the FedEx Cup playoffs end before making a last pick. That was done because Billy Horschel won the final two playoff events and the FedEx Cup after 2014 captain Tom Watson named his three wild-card picks. The idea was to afford the American leader the maximum amount of time to identify the hot hand. Moore is the hot hand, and Love figured that out, even if it may have taken four unscheduled holes to make certain of it.

    Moore is not a perfect pick. He doesn’t have a clear fit on the team. He’s not all that long, and the Ryder Cup will unfold on a course that can play 7,600 yards. It’s not obvious who Moore should pair with in foursomes and fourball matches. However, Moore reminded everyone on Sunday of the kind of match-play moxie he showed in winning the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links in 2004.

    He was also the beneficiary of the fact that the other options all had flaws, too. Watson hasn’t placed in the top 10 on the PGA Tour since March. Berger and Thomas, while young and talented, lack a consistency and discipline that may become important in match play. Jim Furyk, already a vice-captain, has a terrible Ryder Cup record, and his selection would fly in the face of laying the foundation for the next generation of the matches.

    Then again, Moore isn’t a young buck. There’s a modest chance he won’t compete on the Ryder Cup stage again after this upcoming weekend. However, his place on the team most closely fulfills what the Task Force wanted.

    The U.S. team really doesn’t have much to lose. They’ve lost plenty already, and often. They haven’t won since 2008. They’ve lost three in a row, six of seven and eight of 10. Historically, wild-card picks are worth about 1.8 points each, a little more than 10 percent of the 14.5 points needed to win the Ryder Cup. There’s room for a roll of the dice, taking a chance on something and someone different.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • Bubba Watson didn’t get off to the best start on Thursday in the Tour Championship, shooting a 2-over 72 that has him six shots back of three players, including Dustin Johnson, at East Lake.

    Watson has three more rounds to make a positive impression on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who will make his final of four wild-card picks after the tournament ends on Sunday during halftime of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” While Love has said that hopefuls in the Atlanta field shouldn’t consider the tournament a four-round tryout for the last spot, the pressure clearly affected Watson.

    Bubba Watson didn’t play his best on Thursday at East Lake. (Getty Images)

    Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who, along with Watson, were invited to an informal practice session at Ryder Cup host Hazeltine National on Monday. Berger fared worse than Watson, shooting 74. Thomas, however, shot 68 and plays Friday with Jordan Spieth.

    Perhaps reading the tea leaves from the first three picks, Watson may well have been resigned to a fate of not making the team. Knowing that it could be a realistic possibility, the world No. 7 and the first man out of an automatic spot on the U.S. team still wants to be part of the American cause in Minnesota. Watson made it known to Love in a text message.

    “I sent him a text that said, ‘Can I be an assistant captain if you don’t pick me?’ So I put it out there,” Watson said Thursday. “I want to be a part of the team no matter what.”

    The U.S. side has four vice-captains now — Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman and Jim Furyk — but is afforded a fifth under the rules. Vice-captain Bubba, if not chosen to play, could be a great American cheerleader.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • If you were hoping the new Ryder Cup selection process would lead to some unpredictability and fireworks with the wild-card picks added to the team, then you were probably somewhat disappointed by the three players U.S. captain Davis Love III named to his team on Monday.

    At Ryder Cup site Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn., Love added J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar to the eight players who automatically qualified for the team at the end of The Barclays. Those players were No. 10-12, in order, at the end of the qualifying process.

    Fowler has never won a Ryder Cup match in two prior appearances, going 0-3-5. Holmes is on the U.S. team for the second time, being a part of the last American side to win the biennial matches against Europe in 2008. Kuchar is making his fourth consecutive Ryder Cup team, going 4-5-2 in his prior three appearances.

    Davis Love III is rounding out his team. (Getty Images)

    Notably left off the team — at least so far — was world No. 7 Bubba Watson, who finished ninth in the points standings.

    “I want to play on the Ryder Cup. My whole goal this year was the Ryder Cup and the Olympics,” Watson said Friday at the BMW Championship. “That’s all I cared about the whole year was making those two events. I didn’t care how I did it, as long as I made those events.”

    Watson isn’t the only player who may well warrant a pick. There are the likes of Ryan Moore, Daniel Berger, Kevin Na and Kevin Chappell, all of which made the 30-player field for next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. Then there are several players, Love said, who didn’t make the Tour Championship field that could still earn a pick, including Jim Furyk, who is also an assistant captain to Love along with Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Tom Lehman.

    Love said the Americans competing in the playoff finale shouldn’t necessarily equate the PGA Tour’s season finale to a one-event tryout.

    “I’d say the players that are playing in the Tour Championship need to try to win the Tour Championship and not think about Ryder Cup points,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve told several players is it’s not a scoring contest at the Tour Championship for who gets the Ryder Cup pick.”

    Then Kuchar decided to fan the flames of golf conspiracy theorists — whatever size that niche is — by suggesting — facetiously — that Woods could still land the final pick.

    “I heard, even possibly, this is hearsay, but I heard maybe even Tiger Woods could potentially be a pick. That would be legend-ary,” Kuchar said. “That’s just hearsay. It could strictly be rumor.”

    Regardless of who the last pick is, Love will reveal it on Sept. 25 during halftime of the Sunday Night Football game on NBC. The Ryder Cup will start five days later on Sept. 30 and run through Oct. 2.

  • Jim Furyk is out of the FedEx Cup playoffs. (Getty Images)

    Jim Furyk’s truncated PGA Tour season ended on Monday, with the 2003 U.S. Open champion failing to finish high enough in the Deutsche Bank Championship to advance to the next stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

    With Furyk outside the top 70 in points, he won’t get another opportunity to impress U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III that he’s deserving of one of Love’s four wild-card picks, three of which he’ll announce after the BMW Championship.

    In his two playoff starts, Furyk may have been trying too hard to stand out.

    “My game is not far off, but at the moment it’s not where I’d want it to be,” said Furyk, who finished T-41 at The Barclays and T-57 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. “It’s been tough the last couple of weeks not to press a little bit.”

    However, not all is lost. Furyk finished the PGA Tour regular season with a pair of top-10 finishes, and he also finished tied for runner-up at the U.S. Open. Despite missing the first four months of 2016 to recover from a wrist injury, Furyk has some serious highlights, including that PGA Tour record, final-round 58 at the Travelers Championship.

    While some signs might point toward a pick, Furyk, who is also one of Love’s vice-captains for Hazeltine, hasn’t talked with the captain about the situation.

    “I haven’t had any discussions with Davis yet [about the picks],” said Furyk. “That would be Davis’ decision; if he is considering me for a captain’s pick then it would be very awkward. If he’s not, it would be real easy to hop right in there with everyone else and discuss who those four guys will be.”


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Assessing the 2016 Ryder Cup teams

  • The current U.S. Ryder Cup team. (New England Patriots on Twitter)

    The New England Patriots weren’t in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Wednesday night, so the U.S. Ryder Cup team as currently constituted took the field.

    Captain Davis Love III and three of his four vice-captains — Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman and Jim Furyk, but not Tiger Woods — were on the field along with the eight automatic qualifiers — Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth — to take a team photo.

    Patriots owner Bob Kraft was also there along with Patriots players Jerod Mayo and Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, as well PGA of America president Derek Sprague.

    The American players are all wearing the typical No. 1 jersey, except for Mr. 58, Jim Furyk, who got the number matching the record-setting 58 he shot in the final round of the Travelers Championship earlier in August.

    Gillette Stadium is 20 minutes north, by car, of TPC Boston, site of the Deutsche Bank Championship. The course is site of the second leg of the FedExCup playoffs, which begins Friday.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Golf’s successful Olympic return

  • Tiger Woods looks on during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods is playing a big role in planning for the Ryder Cup.

    Serving as an assistant captain to Davis Love III, Woods has apparently been spending his time off from competitive golf — which passed the one-year mark last week — trying to come up with the best possible pairings and practice pods (or groups) for the upcoming matches at Hazeltine National in September.

    “Tiger was on the Task Force, he’ll be a future captain, so he’s got to be a part of the decision-making process of this whole new, Ryder Cup committee,” Love said in a diary for PGA.com.

    Love and Woods were among the players named to the PGA of America-created Ryder Cup Task Force, formed after the U.S. was drubbed by the Europeans in the 2014 matches at Gleneagles in Scotland. Love, who was losing captain in 2012, got the job again as part of an effort to create continuity in leadership and set a standard moving forward. Woods, as well other members like Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, are set to serve as vice-captains now and in future years in preparation for becoming captain.

    Love clearly has confidence in Woods to take on match-making.

    “Tiger is more interested in the strategy side of it — rounding out the team with picks, or making small groups, making pairings,” Love said. “He’s our tactician more than anything. And he’s really been helpful on how to prepare for a major championship. He’s like me. He’s excited about it, he doesn’t sleep much, he puts a lot of thought into it. There’s a reason why he’s arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He knows how to prepare, he knows how to think his way around a golf course, around a golf tournament. He’s committed to being a part of it and he means it.”


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Golf’s successful Olympic return

  • Darren Clarke now has his nine automatic qualifiers for the Ryder Cup. (Getty Images)

    Nine of the 12 players who will represent Europe in the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National have been decided — and a week ahead of the cutoff.

    Matt Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan locked up spots the two final automatic qualifying spots for the European dozen after last weekend’s D+D Real Czech Masters on the European Tour. Both players will be among the minimum five rookies that will be on captain Darren Clarke’s team. Joining them will be Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Chris Wood, Justin Rose and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who all had previously locked up spots on the European team.

    Clarke will now pick three additional wild-card members of the team after this week’s European Tour event, the Made in Denmark. Among the contenders for that pick are Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Russell Knox and Shane Lowry, who is skipping out on the first leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs this week to compete in front of Clarke’s watchful eye in hopes of scoring a pick.

    As for the Americans, The Barclays represents the final week of qualifying for one of eight automatic qualifying spots. With his T-3 at the Wyndham Championship, Brandt Snedeker jumped into the eighth spot in the money-based standings, ahead of J.B. Holmes. Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler round out the top 12, with Jim Furyk quickly charging and now in 15th position.

    American captain Davis Love III will make three of his four wild-card picks on Sept. 11, following the BMW Championship, and one final selection on Sept. 25, after the Tour Championship.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Golf’s successful Olympic return

  • The PGA Tour almost saw the second sub-60 round of August on Friday, with Si Woo Kim coming up one shot shy of a 59 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship.

    Instead, the South Korean had to settle for a course-record, 10-under 60 at Sedgefield Country Club, taking a two-shot lead into the weekend at 12-under 128.

    Kim, who said he knew he needed a birdie on the last for 59, said he won’t bask too much in his round.

    “Not so much celebrate today,” Kim said after the round. “After this week, play good, I celebrate.”

    The 21-year-old was looking to become the first player to break 60 — a long wait of less than two weeks — since Jim Furyk shot the first-ever 58 on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship. Instead, he leads Furyk, who shot 64 on Friday in Greensboro, to reach 10-under total and share second place with Kevin Na and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Furyk was surprised to see Kim have a chance at 59.

    “I’m a little surprised how low the scoring is,” he said. “The fairways are pretty firm. They’re extremely quick, have a lot of slope in them.”

    Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, also had a chance at 59 late in the day on Friday. He reached the green at the par-4 finisher in two, facing a 27-foot putt for a sub-60 score. He missed, leaving a 19-inch putt for par, which he shockingly missed, leading to a final tally of 61 and a share of second place.

    However, he walked away from the round feeling great about how he did with the flat stick.

    “I’m thrilled with the way I putted. I made a bunch,” he said. “It was the best putts I made in the last two days. Today was one of those days. You make a 50-footer and chip-in. Turned into one of those days.”


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


    LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Golf’s successful Olympic return

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