Fowler, Compton make U.S. Ryder Cup moves at U.S. Open
With major championships comes volatility in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, since points count double for American players who make the cut in majors during a Ryder Cup year.
That was no different at the conclusion of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 Sunday evening. Rickie Fowler made a strong push for a possible second Ryder Cup appearance with his tie for second at Pinehurst. That helped Fowler jump 11 spots from No. 18 to No. 7.
As impressive as that was, it wasn't the biggest leap of the week. That honor belonged to two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, who tied for second with Fowler. Compton soared from No. 59 to No. 19 this week.
Among the top 10, other notable moves included Dustin Johnson who moved from No. 5 to No. 3 with a tie for fourth and Phil Mickelson, who slipped back to No. 10 after a tie for 28th, putting him one spot out of the automatic bids.
Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top nine after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while U.S. Captain Tom 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. Phil Mickelson
11. Chris Kirk
12. Zach Johnson
U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson has said a number of times that PGA of America President Ted Bishop has noted the magic number, typically, to be a lock for the team is 4,600 points. If that holds true, it looks as though the U.S. team already has four guaranteed team members in Bubba Watson (6,704.656 points), Jimmy Walker (5,379.505), Dustin Johnson (4,812.202) and Matt Kuchar (4,684.187).
Jordan Spieth (4,422.573) and Jim Furyk (4,302.834) are also closing in on 4,600 points.
Keegan Bradley tied for fourth at the U.S. Open thanks to a final-round, 3-under 67 and moved from No. 21 to No. 17 in the latest standings.
After his round, Bradley admitted that the Ryder Cup points were very much on his mind.
"I'm so pumped," he said. "I was nervous coming down to the end, because there's so many Ryder Cup points on the line here. I was thinking about it. And it's a battle for me because of how bad I want to be on that team. I know that one shot here or there is double points, so it's -- it was nerve wracking. I'm not too worried about the money or the place, [it's about] Ryder Cup points at this point for me."
Beginning this week with the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., there are nine tournaments remaining for American players to gain points. Two of those -- the Open Championship and the PGA Championship -- are worth double points, while the Reno-Tahoe Open is worth one-half point for every $1,000 earned because it is played the same week as the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.