Kirk firmly in Ryder Cup conversation
U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson will have tough choices to make for his picks
September 01, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Chris Kirk earned a two-shot victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship and moved to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NORTON, Mass. -- Chris Kirk's win Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship not only moved him to the top of the FedExCup standings but firmly into the Ryder Cup conversation, too.
Entering the week, Kirk had just three top 10s this season. One of those was a win, but it came nearly 10 months ago. On the flip side, he played well enough this year to finish 14th in the final Ryder Cup standings two weeks ago.
Now he'll have to wait to see if he impressed Tom Watson enough for the captain to use one of his three picks on him. Watson will announce his picks Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET from New York City.
"I certainly don't feel entitled or feel like I'm a shoe-in to get a pick," said Kirk, who last spoke with Watson during a practice round at The Open Championship last month. "I obviously really put myself into consideration and it's something that I would love to do."
So would Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Hunter Mahan. All three have been among the names mentioned as possible picks.
Mahan won last week, while Simpson and Bradley played well at TPC Boston, finishing ninth and 16th respectively. All three also have Ryder Cup experience and provide familiarity when it comes to pairings.
"I just told (Watson) I'm going to try to play hard the next few weeks and make it easy for him," said Simpson, who traded text messages with Watson a few weeks ago. "I don't know, we'll see.
"It would mean the world. I mean I want to make that team and represent our country. I want to join the guys, the guys that are up there on the team playing well. I'll do anything to be on that team."
Of course Watson could also choose from any number of other players.
Ryan Moore and Brendon Todd finished 11th and 12th in Ryder Cup points. Brandt Snedeker is close with Watson but missed the cut in each of his last two starts. Billy Horschel finished second at TPC Boston and his emotional style could provide a boost to the Americans.
In 1993, the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil, Watson was captain and went well down the points list and chose Lanny Wadkins and Ray Floyd.
What direction will he go this time?
"The depths of the Americans is really, really strong right now," Bradley said. "There could be 10, 15 guys that could play on this team."