U.S. Captain Davis Love III started paying closer attention to the Ryder Cup point standings this week.
The U.S. and European teams took the first significant step to identifying their 12-man rosters after last weekend's Masters, the first of four major championships that are worth double points in the standings.
Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., will play host to the 2016 Ryder Cup, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.
Love, who turned 52 on Wednesday, joked he was in contention for a roster spot after jumping to 80th in the standings with his 42nd-place finish at the Masters. He was one of 57 players to make the cut and also made a hole-in-one Sunday. The real contenders, though, were at the top of the leaderboard.
"Jordan [Spieth], and Dustin [Johnson] and Brandt [Snedeker] all felt like they had a chance to win," Love said on a conference call Wednesday. "Jordan had a great chance, and none of them pulled it off, but they all had great points weeks. We had a lot of guys hold their position with good weeks."
Six Europeans finished in the top 10 at the Masters, led by winner Danny Willett, but Love wasn't overly concerned about the strong showing.
"It was an exciting week," he said, "and when the majors kick off we get more serious about the points and points list.
"I don't get hung up on how guys play in Masters. ... It's going to be how they're playing in a couple months."
The top eight point producers from the respective countries earn an automatic spot on their Ryder Cup team. Love and his vice captains select the final four spots.
Love said it is important to keep balance on the roster instead of rounding out the team with the 12 top point producers. After the Masters, Spieth holds a commanding lead in the U.S. standings.
"We're going to look to the best 12 we can get, no matter where they are on the list," Love said. "They're giving me all these stats right now and I'm going to wait until later in the year to study them. ... From No. 8 to 30 could change a lot over the next few months. I'm down there about 80, so I'm looking at least that far down right now."
His approach will be focused on building the best pairings instead of just the best 12 players. He likened it to sports Minnesotans are very familiar with.
"You're basing it on kind of like a football team or a hockey team that has a fast-skating line and now we need defense line, we need penalty-killing line. So we're trying to fill holes with our draft and make matchups and make teams that make sense. ... We need a balance."
Love said he plans to visit Hazeltine with the players as much as possible over the next five months, but the course is not quite ready. He expects it to be in good shape by the end of May.
This article was written by Jason Gonzalez from the Minnesota Star Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.