Ryder Cup Wildcards: FedEx St. Jude Championship
The FedExCup playoffs have arrived — which means the Ryder Cup is right around the corner.
There are several players who probably wish their standing in the U.S. Ryder Cup Rankings was a bit higher; however, heading into this week's FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first of three playoff events, a player can vault themselves into the thick of the Ryder Cup conversation.
Here are four players outside the top 15 who could begin a move up the U.S. Rankings with a timely performance at TPC Southwind and strengthen their case for claiming one of the U.S. Team’s 12 roster spots.
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 18
The 2021 Ryder Cupper's last three starts haven't been tantalizing (T-60, MC, T-33), but if there's anywhere English can get hot, it's TPC Southwind. The 34-year-old won the FedEx St. Jude Classic there in 2013 and held the lead after each of the three rounds in 2021, before finishing one stroke back of a playoff, missing a 13-foot birdie putt on the last. He didn't make the FedExCup playoffs last year after missing a chunk of the season due to hip surgery, so he's been looking to avenge his loss from '21 for two years. If he can, English will be knocking on the door of a second straight Ryder Cup nod.
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 19
Playoff Tony time. In the last six seasons, Finau has 15 top-10s in the postseason and won this event in 2021 — though it was contested at Liberty National Golf Club. Despite two wins this season, the 33-year-old has fallen behind in the Ryder Cup race, but begins his playoff quest at a course in which he placed T-5 last year. The 7,200-yard course has favored elite ball strikers in the past — and Finau is fourth on Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach. Re-activating Finau's playoff form may be enough for him notch a spot on his third straight U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 20
Henley may have let the Wyndham Championship slip away last week, but TPC Southwind could help him quickly put that finish in his rearview. The course's past two champions ranked inside the top-5 in Strokes Gained: Approach for the week, and the 34-year-old is a premier ball striker, ranked 20th in approach this year, but was inside the top-10 on Tour the past three years. Not to mention, he's first in driving accuracy percentage this season (72.42%) and was first in Strokes Gained: Putting last week, an area he's struggled with this year, ranked 123rd on Tour in that statistical category. Finishing T-2 at the Wyndham, Henley rose five spots in the Ryder Cup rankings — and he's on pace to make the Tour Championship, sitting 20th in the FedExCup. Henley hopes to continue that climb through the playoffs all the way to Rome.
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 29
Is Poston the hottest player on the planet? About to play for the seventh time in eight weeks — traveling over 13,000 miles in the process — the 30-year-old has four top-10s in his last five starts and has soared more than 20 spots in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. Last year, Poston made it to the Tour Championship and this week, he begins his quest to do the same at a course where it's paramount to hit greens. That should work in Poston's favor, as he's 39th on Tour in Greens in Regulation percentage (68.06%). If he can keep his heater going and make it back to East Lake, it's hard not see Poston on the U.S. Team in Rome.