By Paul Myers
As the Presidents Cup gets closer and closer, the pressure only increases on players who are trying to qualify for the team. The top ten players on the points list on September 7th, 2015 will automatically qualify for the team, and two other players will be chosen as captain’s picks. Obviously, every player would love to finish within the top ten so they can avoid the stress of waiting to find out if they have been selected for the team. Of course, with so many great players competing under the U.S. flag, there are sure to be a number of high quality players who are left home when the team heads for South Korea.
The top six players on the points list as this point in the season would seem to be locks to qualify for the team. Jordan Spieth is the number two ranked player in the world, and the winner of two major championships in 2015. He is also leading the points race by a considerable margin, and is a sure thing to be a member of the U.S. squad. Other players who appear to be locks are Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, and Jim Furyk. Comfortably in position on the list, it would be a shock if any of these six players did not qualify for the team.
The Borderline Group
At this point, the final four automatically qualifying members of the team would be Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk, and Matt Kuchar. While each of those four players is highly accomplished, there is a group of players just outside the top ten who are going to make a hard push for those spots. Among those lurking just outside the top ten include J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, Robert Streb, Webb Simpson, and Bill Haas. Any one of those players could ride one or two hot weeks up into the top ten and automatic qualification.
What Will Jay Haas Do?
Jay Haas is the captain of the 2015 U.S. Presidents Cup team, and he will have a couple of very interesting decisions once the first ten team members have been determined. On the one hand, Haas could select golfers who are just outside of the top ten, such as those names mentioned above. If any of those players posts good finishes in the coming weeks and still falls short on points, they would be strong contenders to be chosen. However, Haas could also choose to opt for experience over current form by selecting a name from well down the list. For instance, Phil Mickelson is currently 36th in points – would Haas go that far down the list to get an experienced leader like Mickelson? Even less likely, would he go down into the 100’s to select Tiger Woods despite is poor form in recent events? Any way you look at it, Haas has a difficult task ahead of him.
The U.S. has lost the Presidents Cup just once in its history, and this year’s team is looking strong enough to keep that tradition going. However, the International side is going to have plenty of world class players to its credit, so the U.S. is going to have to fight in order to retain the cup.