Ryder Cup Wild Cards: BMW Championship

There are only two events left in the PGA Tour season, but earning a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team could be a long time coming.

After this week’s BMW Championship, the top six in the US Ryder Cup standings will qualify for Team Rome. Later, six captains will be chosen after the Tour Championship. There are many players who are on the outside right now, but a big week at the Tour’s final event could help them enter the Ryder Cup conversation.

Here are four players outside the top 15 who could move up the U.S. rankings and strengthen their case for one of Team USA’s 12 roster spots by performing on time at Olympia Fields.

Lucas Glover
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 16
Minimum finish to break into the top 12 in the US rankings: a three-way tie for third

Over the past two weeks, Glover has sparked the biggest debate in golf: Should he make the Ryder Cup team?

„Right now, yes,” Glover said when asked Sunday if he would be selected to the U.S. team after picking up his second win in as many weeks at the FedExCup St. Jude Championship. „Plays pretty good golf, I think I’d be really good in the team room and a good partner, so yeah, of course I would.”

The 43-year-old entered the Wyndham Championship ranked 64th in the Ryder Cup standings. Now, he’s 16th — and fourth in the FedExCup. To say he’s hot might be an understatement. At the Memorial, Glover switched to a broom putter, a solution to his putting yips that had plagued him for a decade. Aside from a missed cut at the 3M Open since July, Glover’s lowest finish is a T-6 at the John Deere Classic. Also, he shot 60s in 21 of his last 22 Tour rounds. His latest heater is already arguing a lot The 2009 US Open champion made his first Ryder trophy, but a strong finish to the season could have secured it.

FedEx St. Jude Championship - Final Round

Is Kurt available?
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 17
Minimum finish to break into the top 12 in the US rankings: solo second

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The 30-year-old has missed half the cuts since winning at Bay Hill in March. However, if Kitayama can put together a good time this week and return to the Ryder Cup conversation, he could have a leg up against the US team’s final contenders.

At last year’s Italian Open on the DB World Tour, contested at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, site of this year’s Ryder Cup, Kitayama was one of the few Americans in the field — and tied for seventh. Meanwhile, many of the leading players of the European team have enough experience at Marco Simone and have recorded strong results there. US captain Zach Johnson knows his squad doesn’t have much representation in Marco Simone, which is why he’s planning a scouting trip to Rome ahead of the Ryder Cup. So, if Kitayama is hot to finish the season, his success in Marco Simone could help him in his choice of captain. But with his season in danger of an early end sitting 33rd in the FedExCup, Kitayama must step up at Olympia Fields. Perhaps, it sends him to Rome.

Golf: AUG 10 PGA - FedEx St. Jude Championship

Russell Henley
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 21st
Minimum finish to break into the top 12 in the US rankings: solo second

Aside from Glover, Henley might be the best player in the game with a runner-up finish and a T-6 the past two weeks. Now, coming to a course that requires precision (the 2020 BMW field hits 48% of its fairways) should be music to Henley’s ears, as the Tour is first this season in driving accuracy. Sitting 15th in the FedExCup, the 34-year-old has a spot in the Tour Championship for the first time in six years. However, continuing his hot streak at Olympia Fields, where he finished T-25 in 2020, will certainly help secure a spot on the US team.

FedEx St. Jude Championship - First Round

Tony Finau
Current Ryder Cup Ranking: 21st
Minimum result to break into the top 12 of the US rankings: win

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Tony didn’t get off to the expected start in the playoffs, finishing 64th in Memphis and dropping two spots in the US rankings. Fortunately for him, he finished fifth at Olympia Fields in 2020 and was one of five players on par. He finished fourth in driving distance that week, but T-66 in driving accuracy. A little cleaner off the tee this time, Finau, who had his first top-10 finish in April at the 3M Open late last month, could rediscover his playoff dominance (15 postseason top-10s since 2017) and put himself forward. Third straight Ryder Cup finish.

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