Bradley, Simpson make great impression on Captain Watson
Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson each made the best of an opportunity they had last week at the Greenbrier Classic.
For the first two rounds, the pair -- who each made their respective Ryder Cup debuts at Medinah in 2012 -- were paired with 2014 U.S. Captain Tom Watson.
At the start of the week, Bradley and Simpson were No. 18 and No. 17, respectively, in the standings.
In the first two rounds alongside Watson, Bradley (67-69) and Simpson (71-69) combined for a 4 under total. On the weekend when it counted most, and without Watson, the two lit it up at the Old White TPC. Bradley went 69-66 on the weekend to tie for fourth at 9 under, while Simpson fired rounds of 67-63 to finish alone in third at 10 under.
Bradley improved his Ryder Cup position two spots, moving up to No. 16. Simpson was five better when the new points list came out on Monday, up to No. 12.
Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top nine after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while Watson will fill out the team with three captain's picks):
1. Bubba Watson
2. Jimmy Walker
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Matt Kuchar
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Jim Furyk
7. Rickie Fowler
8. Jason Dufner
9. Patrick Reed
10. Brendon Todd
11. Phil Mickelson
12. Webb Simpson
"I think Tom knows what's going on, and I'm hoping my good play will take care of it and not have to be a captain's pick. But if I was a captain's pick, it would be great to be on that team," Simpson said after Sunday's 63. "So it was fun to be with Tom last Thursday and Friday, and he's still a great competitor, so he knows what's going on out here."
The 64-year-old Watson, for the record, finished at 4 under and tied for 35th place. His final three rounds were 68-68-69.
Another strong showing by Brendon Todd -- a tie for fourth, his fifth top-8 finish in his last six starts -- allowed him to snag the No. 10 spot from Phil Mickelson. Todd occupied the No. 13 spot heading into the week.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Silvis, Ill., for the John Deere Classic. Next week's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool will be worth double points.
Among the players in the field at the John Deere Classic are defending champion Jordan Spieth (No. 5), former champions Zach Johnson (No. 5) and Steve Stricker (No. 42), as well as Harris English (No. 14), Chris Kirk (No. 13) and Kevin Na (No. 17).
Watson will likely have an eye across the Atlantic Ocean this week, too. Though no Ryder Cup points will be available for U.S. players at the Scottish Open, Jimmy Walker (No. 2) Mickelson (No. 10) and Rickie Fowler (No. 7) are in the field as preparation for the Open Championship.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.