Furyk closer to captain's choices for Ryder Cup, Tiger still an option

Europe Captain Bjorn Hopes Tiger Plays In Ryder Cup

While the likes of Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and Race to Dubai victor Tommy Fleetwood are already assured of a spot, there are many whose place in the European team is far from secure.

St. Louis, MO, USA; Thomas Bjorn captain for the 2018 European Ryder Cup addresses the media during a press conference before Tuesdays practice round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club.

Thomas secured his place Sunday by winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, joining world number one Dustin Johnson, reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed and two-time US Open victor Brooks Koepka.

In more precarious positions are Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson, who leads Bryson De Chambeau by just under 49 points for the final spot with Phil Mickelson, an 11-time Ryder Cup player, just under 158 points back.

"The American team is going to be one of the strongest ever and it won't be easy at all for us in Paris", Molinari said.

The biennial event at Le Golf National near Paris will match holders United States, who haven't won on European soil since 1993, against a Europe squad that won6 of 7 before falling in 2016.

Schauffele, victor of the 2017 Tour Championship, certainly is in the mix for one of the 12 team spots.

"It's going to be about getting the ball in the fairway, but then you're going to have some short irons", Furyk said.

"You want a good mix of youth and veterans on your team", Furyk said. We want the guys that are in pretty good form right now.

Woods, set to be an assistant captain alongside Love in September's showdown with Europe at France's Le Golf National, must win the Wanamaker trophy for a record-tying fifth time to earn a berth on the U.S. squad on points.

They've had a lot of success and we'll be looking to try to break that", Furyk said, noting he won't shy away from rookies when he and Bjorn make captain's picks to complete the rosters in September. Tommy Fleetwood has become a force.

"This is a great golf course", Bjorn said. Italy's Francesco Molinari won three times, including the Open at Carnoustie.

Garcia has been the beating heart of the European side for almost two decades but he is now well outside the top eight spots and the automatic cut off for the team. "So it doesn't come as a surprise to me or to the team that's going to play for the European side, but the American team is going to be great".

McIlroy says he's trying to figure out what steps he has to take to go from contending to playing in the final group to lifting trophies. "It probably isn't the best pairing for them".

One player now on the outside looking in is Sergio Garcia, who hasn't been in good form since winning the 2017 Masters.

Garcia, 38, is not the only European stalwart outside the qualifying bubble, with Swede Henrik Stenson and Englishman Ian Poulter also battling to make the team. Woods has a mediocre 13-17-3 record in seven Ryder Cups, though his singles record is an excellent 4-1-2.

"And that was probably a sign that I should have picked up on a lot quicker". Furyk said he was taken aback somewhat when Woods, who'd already named to be an assistant captain, approached Furyk in January to ask about the dual role of playing this year, too.

"But he has added so much value off the golf course for us the last two that, if we could have him for both this time, it would be great".

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