Phil Mickelson began the week hoping to play his way on to the US Ryder Cup team and he did so in style with a gutsy second place finish at the PGA Championship.
Captain Tom Watson now has nine of his 12-man team confirmed with Mickelson’s performance meaning he leap-frogged an injured Jason Dufner into the final automatic spot on the American side. Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson have also confirmed their places and will be joining 'Lefty' on the plane to Gleneagles.
Watson will now make three captain’s picks on September 2, giving him time to see who automatically makes the European side before confirming his picks alongside opposing captain Paul McGinley at the European Tour headquarters in Wentworth.
While Mickelson will be making an American-record tenth appearance in the match, he will be joined in the US Ryder Cup side by three rookies: Reed, Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth.
Woods says he is ‘getting stronger’ with every week that passes, but his long injury layoff this year looks to have put paid to his chances of playing in the team.
Big-hitting Masters champion Bubba Watson was the first player to earn his spot on the team, while Jim Furyk, Walker, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar also had their spots on the team guaranteed heading into the final major of the season.
US Ryder Cup - nine down, three to go
With nine players already having locked down their spots at Gleneagles, captain Watson now has some tough decisions to make when it comes to his three captain’s picks.
Jason Dufner was forced to pull out of the PGA Championship due to ongoing neck problems but, having finished narrowly outside the automatic qualifying places, he has a strong case for a pick if fit.
Ryan Moore and Brendon Todd are also in with a chance, finishing 11th and 12th on the standings respectively, but Keegan Bradley is also in the reckoning. Will his performance and passion in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah work in his favour?
Then comes the big one – does Watson pick Tiger Woods? He’s been asked the question many times throughout the course of the year and he’s always said if Tiger is healthy and playing well he will pick him. The problem is, Tiger isn’t either fit or on-form. Woods says he is ‘getting stronger’ with every week that passes, but his long injury lay-off this year looks to have put paid to his chances of playing in the team. Then again, who knows what Watson will decide. Tiger Woods is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, so he’s never out of contention for a place.
Who would you pick?
Now you know who made the US Ryder Cup team automatically, who do you think Watson will pick? Who would you pick? Let us know in the ‘Comments’ section below.