FedEx isn’t the only cup that’s on some players’ minds this week
NORTON, MASS. — The Ryder Cup is a month away and Phil Mickelson already has identified a big problem with the American team.
In the Boston area for the Deutsche Bank Championship, the eight automatic qualifiers had their first team session Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.
From a platform in the stadium, they hit wedges to a target about 80 yards away. It was closest to the pin, and Mickelson won. One problem. “There was no left-handed clubs, and he hit it righty,” Jordan Spieth said. “Phil hit it to about 4 feet right-handed on his second try, which made us all feel really bad. Because he sure let us know about it.”
Mickelson wasn’t done chirping the next day.
“It was a 60-degree wedge from only 80 yards. It wasn’t like it was rocket science,” he said Thursday after his pro-am round at the TPC Boston. “I feel like it identified a weakness in the U.S. team that we need to work on in the next four or five weeks, because if I’m hitting right-handed inside of them we’ve got time to fix it. But we’ve got an issue.”
Then again, he only had to beat seven players.
Europe completed its 12-man team Tuesday when Darren Clarke made his three captain’s picks. The U.S. team has just eight players at the moment. Not until the next two tournaments are over will Davis Love III announce three picks. A fourth pick will come after the Tour Championship, just five days before the Ryder Cup begins.
The reason behind the staggered picks is having the option to take a hot player.
That means two cups are at stake for a Today’s TV: Golf Channel, 2:30 p.m., few dozen Americans — an audition for the Ryder Cup, and the FedEx Cup that offers a $10 million bonus and a five-year exemption. Love said earlier this week that the entire field at the Deutsche Bank Championship “has to be on our radar.”
Zach Johnson got the final spot on the American team, but only after Rickie Fowler fell apart on the closing holes at The Barclays.
With the staggered picks, the Ryder Cup touches every FedEx Cup playoff event, at least for those involved. Almost as an afterthought, the second playoff event begins today with the traditional Labor Day finish in Boston.