Stock Watch for the United States' Ryder Cup Candidates After 2014 US Open
Sure, the Ryder Cup is four months away; however, it's never too early to start looking at who might make the United States squad, especially as captain Tom Watson is set to finalize his roster after the PGA Championship in late August.
Among those who have accumulated the most Ryder Cup ranking points to date, some golfers have seen their stocks soar, while others are seeing quite the opposite.
Who's up? Who's down? Read on to find out.
Stock Up: Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker is second in Ryder Cup points, having teed it up 16 times on tour this season.
Since our last update after the Masters, the three-time winner in 2014 has been playing quality golf.
Walker finished tied for sixth at The Players and tied for 37th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He followed up that performance with a tie for 10th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
More impressively, though, Walker finished tied for ninth at last week's U.S. Open in his first appearance in the tournament since 2002.
The adoptive Texan is making a strong case for himself and will almost certainly earn a roster spot on this year's Ryder Cup team.
Stock Down: Bubba Watson
First in Ryder Cup points after 16 starts this season, Bubba Watson's stock is trending downward after a missed cut at the U.S. Open. A double-bogey seven at the par-five 10th during his first round, in combination with a multitude of bogeys over both rounds, left him just outside the cut line at Pinehurst No. 2.
Still, with little more than two months until team selections, Watson is nearly assured a spot on Tom Watson's squad.
Since our last update, Bubba finished tied for 48th at The Players and third at the Memorial Tournament. But a missed cut at the U.S. Open is a significant snafu for the winner of the season's first major.
Stock Up: Dustin Johnson
Third in the current Ryder Cup standings, Dustin Johnson played well at the U.S. Open. His T4 finish was a career best at the season's second major; he played well from tee to green all week.
Since the last update, Johnson has been playing quality golf. After an unimpressive tie for 59th at The Players Championship, DJ tied for seventh at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He finished tied for 14th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial the next week and made the cut in his two succeeding events.
On the season, he's made an impressive 12 of 14 cuts with seven top-10 finishes. He won the WGC-HSBC Championship and is fourth in the FedEx Cup standings.
Stock Down: Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is currently 10th in the Ryder Cup points list after 19 starts this season. He tied for 28th at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Pre-tournament murmurings held that Mickelson had a good chance of winning on the course where he so famously placed second at the 1999 U.S. Open.
Instead, he was not a factor, tying for 28th and never threatening the lead.
Mickelson still hasn't accumulated any top-10 finishes this year.
After failing to impress at Pinehurst, Mickelson, who is on the Ryder Cup bubble, sees his stock moving down, and he'll need to do well the rest of 2014 so he doesn't have to rely on a captain's pick to make the trip to Scotland.
Stock Down: Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner is eighth in the Ryder Cup standings. He's made 17 starts this season but has now missed the cut in both majors.
Dufner carded rounds of 72, 74 at Pinehurst No. 2 to miss the cut. Even though he hasn't missed any other cuts since our last update and nearly won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (narrowly losing to Adam Scott in a playoff), Dufner's Ryder Cup stock moves down, as he missed a huge opportunity to earn points at the U.S. Open.
We want our Ryder Cup players to be at their best in the biggest tournaments. Missing the cut at consecutive majors is not evidence of that trait.
Stock Up: Jordan Spieth
After 21 starts, Jordan Spieth is fifth in the current Ryder Cup standings. The young Texan seems well on his way to earning a spot on his first Ryder Cup team with two months until rosters are finalized.
Since the last update after the Masters, Spieth has continued his stellar form. Most recently, the 20-year-old finished tied for 17th at the U.S. Open, making the cut at the event for the first time in his career.
Following his strong showing at the Masters, Spieth finished tied for 12th at the RBC Heritage and tied for fourth at The Players Championship. He also finished inside the top 20 at the Memorial.
Spieth looks like he will earn a spot on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team—an impressive feat in only his second season on the PGA Tour.
Stock Down: Patrick Reed
Presently ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, Patrick Reed has made 17 starts this year.
At the time of our last update, Reed had just missed the cut at the Masters. Although he finished tied for 35th at last week's U.S. Open, his play between the season's first two majors was poor. However, the results should be taken with a grain of salt, as Team Reed recently welcomed a new member.
Still, after missing the cut at the Masters, Reed missed the cut in three of his next four starts. The Texas native will need to right the ship over the next couple of months, as he presently sits on the Ryder Cup bubble.
Stock Up: Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler is currently seventh in the Ryder Cup standings. He's made 23 appearances on the PGA Tour this season and is coming off his career-best showing at the U.S. Open. Fowler tied for second and was one of only three players under par for the tournament. The impressive performance follows up a T10 finish at last year's U.S. Open.
Since the Masters, Fowler made two of four cuts prior to the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he finished tied for 13th. While the Oklahoma State alum's play during the stretch isn't overwhelming, his work inside the ropes at Pinehurst No. 2 has his Ryder Cup stock ticking up.
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