Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson is a tough customer at TPC Deere Run and the John Deere Classic. He proved that again Sunday, finishing in second place and moving to No. 9 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Johnson moves into top 9 with runner-up finish

The John Deere Classic could not have come at a better time for Zach Johnson. Johnson entered the tournament ranked No. 15 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Based on recent history, however, Johnson had to know he would be on the rise.

Since 2009, here's a look at Johnson's record in the John Deere Classic:

- Second in 2009
- T21 in 2010
- T3 in 2011
- Win in 2012
- T2 in 2013

And, on Sunday, a sole second-place finish for Johnson at TPC Deere Run to move up six spots to No. 9 in the latest U.S. standings.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Talk about being a horse for a course.

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. Zach Johnson

10. Patrick Reed
11. Brendon Todd
12. Phil Mickelson

It's got to feel nice for Johnson to be inside that coveted top 9 at this stage in the game. Especially with double points available at the Open Championship this week, a tournament in which he's finished in the top 9 each of the last two years.

The only other player to move up in the top 20 of the standings over the weekend was Ryan Moore. Moore tied for seventh and went to No. 16 in the standings, up from No. 18.

While Keegan Bradley -- currently No. 18 -- did not play, one has to think he did a little something that should help his chances should he need to rely on a Captain's Pick.

Bradley and Jim Furyk (No. 6) were both at Gleneagles over the weekend taking in a round with Watson on a scouting trip before the Open Championship.

Bradley is well on the outside looking in and has made his desire to be on the U.S. team clear. This move solidified that desire and -- probably -- made a statement to Watson.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson (No. 12), Rickie Fowler (No. 7) and Jimmy Walker (No. 2) competed in the Scottish Open on the European Tour last week. Since it was a European Tour event, there were no Ryder Cup points available for those players.

Fowler was the most impressive of the trio with a tie for eighth. Mickelson tied for 11th, while Walker tied for 41st.

Walker is the only one in that threesome who doesn't need to worry about points at this stage. He's already a lock.

Tiger Woods (No. 72) and all the other contenders on the outside looking in, or looking to solidify a spot have a great chance this week at Royal Liverpool, where -- again -- points are worth double.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.