Bubble Watch: Wyndham Championship
With only three events remaining for players to earn points, with the top six punching their tickets to a spot on Captain Stricker’s U.S. Team after the BMW Championship, we’ve entered the home stretch.
This week, Open Champion Collin Morikawa became the first player to officially clinch an automatic spot on the team, while No. 2 Dustin Johnson is on the precipice of joining him. There’s also a significant gap for the next three spots, with No. 5 Justin Thomas more than 2,000 points ahead of No. 6 Xander Schauffele (with Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka both comfortably ahead of Thomas).
With players earning 1.5 points per $1,000 earned over the next three weeks and none of the top eight players teeing it up at the Wyndham Championship, the standings will likely look pretty similar heading into the pivotal postseason. But here’s a look at a couple of players currently inside the top 15 who could complicate matters with a strong showing in Greensboro:
Current points position: 13th
Points outside of qualification: 3,280
Analysis: Simpson isn’t entering the top-6 discussion unless he wins two out of the next three events, but there’s a strong likelihood he’ll be in the mix this week at Sedgefield. A winner here in 2011, Simpson went on to name his daughter Wyndham in part as an homage to the tournament’s title sponsor – a testament to how much this week’s stop means to the former Wake Forest standout. Simpson has been a mainstay here over the last four years, finishing third in 2017, T-2 in 2018, solo second in 2019 and T-3 last year. His T-15 finish last week in Memphis was his best since the RBC Heritage in April and couldn’t have come at a better time in terms of boosting his Ryder Cup resume. A veteran of three previous matches (2012, 2014 and 2018), Simpson could bring some valuable experience to the team room next month and a strong showing this week could help his chances tremendously.
Current points position: 15th
Points outside of qualification: 4,381
Analysis: Kokrak earned the first two wins of his career this season, but he might need to double that total in order to pass Schauffele at the buzzer for a top-6 spot. Still, this is a valuable opportunity for the 36-year-old with no prior team experience to put together a performance that can grab the attention of Captain Stricker. Kokrak has been somewhat quiet since outlasting Jordan Spieth for a win at Colonial in May, and he missed out on an opportunity to make a move up the standings last week in Memphis where he finished T-31. But Sedgefield is a place where he has finished inside the top 15 each of the last two years, with three different rounds of 64 or better. While many of the top names watch from home, Kokrak may be able to put his name back into the mix with a third straight similar showing.