Ryder Cup Dilemma for a Few Olympic Golfers

The PGA Championship results have produced a reshuffling of the names at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup team qualifying race.

Jimmy Walker’s victory launched him from 29th place to 4th while Brooks Koepka, finishing in the top four, moved into fifth place on the list of eight automatic qualifiers. With four weeks to go, the top eight are Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Walker, Koepka, Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, and Brandt Snedeker.

Captain Davis Love will make three of his picks the week of August 29 with a fourth pick coming at the conclusion of the Fedex Cup playoffs on September 25, the Sunday before Ryder Cup week. So who should the four be?

A strong case could be made for players 9-12 on the current points list—Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, and Rickie Fowler—not just because of their point totals but because they will be the four U.S. representatives at the Olympic Games. By going to Rio, they will take themselves out of the points competition for one crucial week, when the John Deere Classic will be played and other players will be allowed to earn points and jump up the list.

There’s something not only ironic but wrong in that—by representing their nation, these four have no choice but to imperil their chances of representing their nation.