FedEx isn’t the only cup that’s on some play­ers’ minds this week

Baltimore Sun - - PGA TOUR - By Doug Fer­gu­son

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.

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