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 the 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 potential Ryder Cuppers stand on the eve of Love's decision.
Steve Stricker — Stricker is a Ryder Cup lock, plain and simple. You need at least one guy who's compatible with everyone for the team competitions, and Stricker fits the bill. Tiger Woods and Stricker will likely be joined at the hip over the first two days, but it's comforting to know Davis Love III can pair Stricker with anyone if need be. He finished T-13 at the Deutsche Bank to post his fifth top-15 in his last eight starts.
Jim Furyk — Love apparently told the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman on Monday that the Deutsche Bank Championship likely wouldn't factor much in his final decision. If that's the case, Furyk's name was likely written in pen before the beginning of the last week. Like Stricker, Furyk can play with anyone on the team. There's also a good chance his seven Ryder Cup appearances also played a role. Even with the two final round collapses this summer, he should be at Medinah.
On the bubble
Dustin Johnson — I felt confident about Johnson's Ryder Cup chances after 36 holes, and after finishing T-4 (his second straight top-five finish) in Boston, I think he's done more than enough over the course of the last few months to warrant a call from Love. His 2-6-1 record in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup is troubling, but his length at Medinah could be key. Plus, he's playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, and I think that could work in his favor.
Brandt Snedeker — I don't see how Love can leave the best putter on the PGA Tour off the squad. Snedeker finished solo sixth and has a couple top-10 finishes in his last two starts, but the reason he should make the team is because he's putting better than anyone in professional golf at the moment. Sure, you can point to the fact that Snedeker has never played in an international event (Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup) in his career as a reason he should be left off the squad. But just look at what Hunter Mahan did as a Ryder Cup rookie in 2008 on American soil: he went 3-2-0 and made the putt that clinched the matches. I have a feeling Snedeker could be this year's version of Mahan.
Hunter Mahan — Mahan finished T-39 at the Deutsche Bank to close out a five-month stretch that saw him post only one top-10 finish. Normally, a guy playing this poorly wouldn't even be in the discussion. But Mahan's strong start to the season, coupled with his Ryder Cup experience, still has him on the bubble. I thought the Deutsche Bank would play a major role in Love's decision, but his comments to Tilghman make me believe Mahan still has a legitimate shot to make the team.
Nick Watney — This is a tough choice. I like Watney and his win at the Barclays was impressive, but I'm not sure he did enough over the course of the season to warrant a pick. As I mentioned at the halfway point of the Deutsche Bank, he needed to leapfrog Johnson and Snedker to justify a spot on the team. His T-20 finish is solid, but the other guys in front of him finished T-4 (Johnson) and sixth (Snedeker). Love may pull a quick one and take Watney, but I'd be surprised if it happens.
Rickie Fowler — Finished two spot from DFL at the Deutsche Bank. I know he's a big draw and secured a crucial half point two years ago in Sunday singles, but you can't overlook the poor play of late. Fowler's been on a downward spiral since his win at the Wells Fargo, and I think that's reason enough to pass on the kid and look elsewhere for the final captain's pick.