The Ryder Cup countdown ticked under the 100-day mark last week and the scouting report on U.S. captain Davis Love III’s team has improved dramatically in recent weeks.
Bubba Watson won the Masters. Matt Kuchar won The Players Championship. Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open.
Go back to last August and Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship. Not a bad run for American golfers who had been getting run over in major championships for a while.
It’s still too early to know the eight automatic qualifiers for Love’s team at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago the last week of September, but it’s starting to take shape. Jason Dufner, Watson and Simpson are the top three in points after the U.S. Open and are virtual locks for the team.
Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson round out the top eight now. Love will have eight automatic qualifiers after the PGA Championship at Kiawah and then he will make four captain’s picks.
That’s where it will be very interesting.
“Two (picks) are going to be clearly obvious, I think. Two of them will be really hard. That’s what I saw with the last couple of teams,” Love said at the U.S. Open.
“We’re going to be plugging holes. We’ll pick an experienced guy or two and we’ll probably pick a long hitter and maybe a great putter. We certainly want guys who are putting well.
“Experience will play a factor. Rickie Fowler and other guys have proven you don’t have to have done it before to play well.”
Love has been paying attention to how guys are playing, but he’s not using each tournament to alter the up or down arrows beside each player’s name.
For one thing, Love is still focusing on his game. After missing six weeks with a rib injury, he’s playing again. He had a chance to win at Memphis on Sunday and tied for 29th at the U.S. Open. He hasn’t abandoned the idea of playing his way onto the team though only as an automatic qualifier.
“I’m watching the points and waiting for a couple of guys...until we get two or three guys locked, it’s hard to start watching,” Love said.
“I’m watching a lot of guys play. I think how they’re playing from maybe the British Open through the Deutsche Bank is maybe more important than right now.”
Love and other U.S. Ryder Cup officials are still working how they want Medinah to play in the matches. It’s a big, tree-lined course that has hosted multiple major championships and because the Ryder Cup is on this side of the Atlantic, Love and the U.S. staff determine the set-up.
“We’re not 100 percent with what we want to do so (the superintendent has) been kind of keeping the rough down. We’d rather keep it down and bring it up if we decide to have it up,” Love said.
“We haven’t come up with a set strategy yet. We’re probably going to have a long-hitting team so it would be to our benefit not to have deep rough.”
It’s tough to find a hotter golfer anywhere than High Point’s Drew Weaver. Five years after his victory in the British Amateur, Weaver is in the midst of a blistering stretch that has made him the dominant player on the eGolf Professional Tour.
With a second-place finish Friday in the Spring Creek Classic, Weaver continued a run that started two months ago. In his past six starts, he has one victory, four second-place finishes and a tie for eighth. It has vaulted Weaver to the top of the tour money list with $77,813.
How good has Weaver been? He’s 81-under par in his past 22 competitive rounds.
• Dana Rader and Julie Cole made Golf Digest For Women’s top 50 teachers. Rader is ranked No. 3, Cole No. 23 out of more than 1,600 female golf instructors. Both work at the Dana Rader Golf School at the Golf Club at Ballantyne.