Jimmy Walker has two PGA Tour wins in the last four months, and that puts him first on the U.S. team’s Ryder Cup Standings. But is he a lock to get one of the nine automatic spots used to determine the U.S. team (the other three are captain’s picks)? The Ryder Cup is in late September at Gleneagles, Scotland.
The PGA of America has released the latest “Captain’s Blog,” from U.S. team captain Tom Watson. In it, Watson says “It’s too early to look at the standings and think, “this is the team that will be at Gleneagles.'” The only person Watson mentions is Zach Johnson, and he’s sixth in the standings currently.
There is some recent history that multiple wins and a high spot in the standings don’t guarantee a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Hunter Mahan beat Rory McIlroy in the WGC Acenture Match Play and won the Shell Houston Open before the calendar turned to May in 2012 and he still missed a spot on the team. He was ranked as high as third after he finished in the top 25 of all eight of his events (including the two wins) to start 2012.
But to finish 2012, Mahan barely cracked the top 20 in just a couple of tournaments. There were four captain’s choices, and Davis Love III selected Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker.
It took Mahan about four months to cough up a spot on the team after looking like a lock in April 2012. There are about seven months before the Ryder Cup teams are set for Gleneagles.
There are some things in Walker’s favor. There are nine automatic spots this time around, one more than the last team. And he is first in the standings right now, while Mahan was third before his drop. Walker, who turned 35 in January, lives in Boerne.