After two years of battling for a spot on the American Ryder Cup team, it all comes down to one tournament. For a select few in this week's Deutsche Bank Championship field, the second leg of the FedExCup playoffs represents the final shot to make an impression before Davis Love III announces his four captain's picks on Sept. 4th.
Here's a look at where seven players stand heading into the 36 holes at the Deutsche Bank Championship. We'll update the "Ryder Cup Rundown" following the completion of play on Monday.
Steve Stricker — As I mentioned in the "Rundown" on Thursday, Stricker's all but assured a spot on the Ryder Cup team, so playing well this week wasn't mandatory. Regardless, there's nothing wrong with positioning yourself for some FedExCup points and a potential top-15 finish. Stricker's currently 4-under (T-19) at the midway point of the Deutsche Bank and playing some solid golf. Nothing to see here, folks.
Jim Furyk — Much like Stricker, there really wasn't a whole lot Furyk needed to do this week to lock in his spot on Davis Love's squad. Barring a couple rounds in the 90s over the weekend, there's a good chance the seven-time Ryder Cupper will be the second captain's pick behind Stricker on Tuesday. He's 1-under after 36 holes and will be around for the weekend.
On the bubble
Dustin Johnson — Just when you thought Johnson might come up short in his bid to make his second Ryder Cup team, he puts on a late-season run that likely could have him in line to be one of the four names called. He's T-12 at the moment at 7-under, which means he still has a shot to win this weekend. While that's a big deal, the even bigger deal is he's the only guy on this list making noise this week. A potential top-10 at the Deutsche would give him three top-10 finishes in his last five starts. Throw in the win earlier this year at the FedEx St. Jude and you're likely looking at Davis Love's final captain's pick.
Hunter Mahan — Mahan showed signs of life on Thursday with a 3-under 68 that led you to believe he was going to make a statement this week and lock up his spot. But he regressed on Friday with a 1-over 72 that left him at 2-under (T-33) and well out of contention. The good news is Mahan will play 72 holes for the first time in his last three events. The bad news is 5 of his last 7 rounds have been over par. I still think he'll make the team based on his two wins in the year. However, if he wants to firm up his chances, a couple rounds in the red would certainly help.
Brandt Snedeker — Johnson's strong start moves Snedeker from the bubble to in trouble heading into the weekend. At 3-under he's not playing poorly. Still, you have to remember he's likely fighting for the last spot on the team with Johnson. Both have wins this season and have played well of late, but a quiet finish from Snedeker and a strong week from Johnson could be the difference.
Nick Watney — Some thought I had a screw loose when I left Watney off the bubble following his win at the Barclays. After two rounds at the Deutsche, however, the decision appears to be the right one ... at least for the time being. Watney's 1-under (T-38) and could very well go low over the next two days, but as I mentioned at the beginning of the week, he likely needed at least a top-10 or better to leapfrog Snedker and Johnson.
Rickie Fowler — I'm not calling time to Fowler's Ryder Cup chances just yet. However, at 1-over (T-60) thru 36 holes he's put himself in bad spot heading into the weekend. Throw out the win earlier this year at the Wells Fargo and the T-5 at Colonial and Fowler's last six starts are as follows: T-52, T-41, T-31, T-60, MC, T-24. His success at the 2010 Ryder Cup should give him a leg up on some of the the competition. The big question is whether Davis Love is willing to overlook his recent struggles and give him a spot.