HOYLAKE, England — The end of the British Open means the Ryder Cup is getting closer and there are a couple of regulars still not in the team.
That starts with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
They both have two tournaments remaining before qualifying ends at the PGA Championship. The top nine earn automatic spots on the U.S. team that goes to Scotland at the end of September to try to win back the cup.
Tom Watson has three captain’s picks.
Woods will have to rely on a captain’s pick unless he finishes at least third at the Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. Mickelson has more realistic chance. He is the equivalent of $198,056 in earnings behind Zach Johnson in the No. 9 spot and money counts double at the PGA Championship.
The Open went a long way toward sewing up a few spots on the team. Rickie Fowler, a runner-up at Hoylake, moved up to No. 3 and locked up a spot. Jim Furyk, who closed with a 65 to finish alone in fourth, moved up to No. 4 and can expect to be at Gleneagles. Right behind him is Dustin Johnson, with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar trailing. The top seven look pretty solid barring some really bad play, or the right combination behind them winning.
Where it gets tight is at the bottom. Only $430,275 separates Jason Dufner at No. 8 from Webb Simpson at No. 15. Of the next five players behind Zach Johnson, Mickelson is the only one with Ryder Cup experience.
In dire need of some good finishes are Keegan Bradley (No. 16), Brandt Snedeker (No. 28) and Hunter Mahan (No. 34).
Snedeker and Mahan are playing the Canadian Open this week.
AMERICAN FALL: American golfers suddenly have their work cut out for them to get back toward the top of the world ranking.
Justin Rose of England won at Congressional. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland won the British Open and Sergio Garcia of Spain was a runner-up. And just like that, there are no Americans among the top five for the first time since the end of 2011.
Adam Scott of Australia remains No. 1, with McIlroy at No. 2. Henrik Stenson (Sweden) is No. 3, followed by Rose and Garcia. That’s one Aussie and four Europeans atop the world ranking. Americans do occupy five of the next six spots — Bubba Watson is the highest-ranked American at No. 6 — and they have 11 in the top 20.