Ryder Cup: 'Bubble boys' fail to make move at PGA
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The race for one of the eight guaranteed spots on the United States’ Ryder Cup team is one of the PGA Championship’s interesting subplots. Eight players will clinch spots on Team USA at week’s end. The “bubble boys” didn’t make much of a move Thursday, though. None of the players ranked between Nos. 7-15 broke 70 in the PGA Championship’s first round, and only Dustin Johnson, who’s ranked 14th, broke par. He shot 1-under 71.
Phil Mickelson, who currently holds the eighth spot in the standings, scrambled to a 73 while playing alongside United States captain Davis Love III. Players earn two points for every $1,000 earned this week, meaning first place is worth 2,890 points. That means Hunter Mahan, who trails Mickelson by 81.38 points, must only earn $40,690 more than Mickelson this week to pass him. If Mickelson, who shot a first-round 73, were to miss the cut, Mahan could pass him by finishing approximately 34th. Steve Stricker has to earn $300,000 more than Mickelson to pass him in the standings; fifth place this week is worth $320,000.
Every player in the top 37 of the current standings has a chance to make the team this week. Here’s how the “bubble boys” performed Thursday. Players are listed by their Ryder Cup rank, followed by their standing in relation to the No. 8 position. Their first-round score is in parentheses:
- 7. Matt Kuchar, +285 (72)
- 8. Phil Mickelson, --- (73)
- 9. Hunter Mahan, -81 (72)
- 10. Steve Stricker, -600 (74)
- 11. Jim Furyk, -845 (72)
- 12. Rickie Fowler, -850 (74)
- 13. Brandt Snedeker, -987 (77)
- 14. Dustin Johnson, -1,161 (71)
- 15. Bo Van Pelt, -1,211 (73)