U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk gets a first-hand look at Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele

Aug 8, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; Davis Love III and Jim Furyk talks on the practice range during Wednesday's practice round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk gets a first-hand look at Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele

Golf

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk gets a first-hand look at Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele

ST. LOUIS — The PGA of America leans on the traditional side when making its groupings. Put past PGA champions together, work in club professionals with good young players and throw the year’s first three major winners together.

But giving the U.S. Ryder Cup captain 36 holes to study to potential team members?

“I didn’t ask for it,” Jim Furyk said of his 8:17 a.m. ET first-round tee time at Bellerive with Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, currently 11th and 13th respectively on the Ryder Cup points list.

The first eight on the points list make the team. Four captain’s picks are added to finish the roster.

While Furyk still has a few weeks to make his picks, Schauffele’s runner-up finish in the British Open and Finau’s strong major season have warranted them the ultimate compliment: an audition with the captain.

“I think it’s a great pairing for me,” Furyk said with a smile. “It probably isn’t the best pairing for them.”

Not long ago players enjoying the recent success of Schauffele and Finau would have been Ryder Cup team members. But the depth of 2018’s pool combined with the likely captain’s picks of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have them fighting for every point. While Furyk plans to take many elements into consideration, including a mock points list through the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, a guaranteed 36 holes will give him an up-close look at two young, burgeoning stars. But how will they feel?

“I was in that situation paired with Davis (Love) looking for a spot in ’16,” Furyk said. “I remember I put a lot of pressure on myself at Congressional, playing Tiger (Woods’) event there. So I know what they’re going through.”

Furyk has no plans to stand over their shots, analyze their decision-making or let the Ryder Cup get in the way of two players with a legitimate chance to win a PGA Championship.

“I hope that it doesn’t faze them. I hope it doesn’t bother them,” Furyk said. “I want them to enjoy the PGA Championship and worry about winning a major championship.”

Furyk has played with Finau and calls he and Shauffele “great guys,” but will be getting his first look at Schauffele, who arrives at Bellerive fresh off nearly winning the British Open and with a Tour Championship defense coming up next month.

“I was trading some information with Xander and I … I just wrote a little text saying, ‘boy, I saw you got the bad end of the stick on the pairings this week,’” Furyk said. “A little smiley face came back on the text. So hopefully, they see the transcript, but I probably will let them both know I didn’t ask for it and just go play golf and have fun.”

Fun?

The real intrigue lies in Furyk’s upcoming four selections. Will he lean on match play records?

Does Le Golf National favor players he’s scouted?

Who fits the personality of the suddenly well-bonded American group?

The sweepstakes start in full force Thursday.

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