ST. LOUIS – Bryson DeChambeau entered the PGA Championship with a shot at earning one of eight automatic U.S. Ryder Cup selections. He was ninth in the standings, only needing to earn about $33,000 more than No. 8 Webb Simpson – and nothing significant from those right behind him – to secure his ticket to Paris early.
“I’m not trying to go about it any other way than playing my best golf to get on that squad,” DeChambeau said Wednesday. “I want to be on that team.”
DeChambeau will now have to rely on a captain’s pick from U.S. captain Jim Furyk after missing the cut by a shot Saturday morning at Bellerive. He opened with a 1-over 71 Thursday and then played the first 12 holes of his second round in 3 under.
However, he made three bogeys in the final six holes of his Saturday-morning finish to Round 2. At the par-4 ninth, he three-putted from 42 feet, missing a par putt from inside of 5 feet.
Luckily, this isn’t it for the 24-year-old DeChambeau, who won the Memorial Tournament earlier this summer while also posting six other top-10s this season. He likely will get three more auditions: at The Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship and BMW Championship, the first three legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. (Three picks will be announced after the second event with the final pick coming after the BMW.)
Also, DeChambeau wasn’t the only Ryder Cup bubble guy to suffer an early exit at Bellerive. Phil Mickelson shot 71-73 to miss the weekend at 4 over, though Mickelson, who won in Mexico in March, is a favorite to receive one of four captain’s picks. Tiger Woods is another perceived lock, which leaves two spots up for grabs.
Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley, ranked 12th and 14th in Ryder Cup points, respectively, also missed the PGA cut.
But there were others building their cases. No. 11 Xander Schauffele and No. 13 Tony Finau will both stick around after strong auditions playing in front of Furyk. Schauffele shot 3-under 67 in Round 2 to make the cut at 3 under while Finau rebounded from an opening 74 to make 10 birdies and shoot 66.
And Nos. 1 and 2 on the leaderboard could both climb into the top 8 – or at least vault into the captain’s pick conversation – with a win. Gary Woodland, leading at 10 under, is No. 22 in points while Kisner, a shot back, is No. 15.
Right now, the U.S. team has just one Ryder Cup rookie among its automatic players in Justin Thomas. Based on what Furyk said Wednesday, he wouldn’t mind one or two more.
DeChambeau and company, however, will still have to earn their spots.
“I think you want a good mix of both veterans and rookies on your team for what they bring, what they provide, but when you just mention a rookie, you know, it’s a spark,” Furyk said. “For a veteran player … I loved having the rookies on the team, seeing the fire in their eyes, seeing the spark they provided to the team.”
With Schauffele and Finau getting two more rounds at Bellerive, and Woodland and Kisner contending for their first major, that fire got a little brighter in the eyes of DeChambeau as he exited St. Louis on Saturday.