The Presidents Cup qualifying process lasts nearly two years. Zach Johnson didn’t clinch his spot on the U.S. team until making a 26-foot birdie putt on his final hole.
The top 10 players in the U.S. and International standings after the Deutsche Bank Championship automatically qualified for their respective Presidents Cup teams. The team, match-play competition will be played Oct. 1-6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Johnson started the Deutsche Bank ranked 10th in the U.S. standings, and was in danger of losing his spot as Steve Stricker, who started the week ranked 11th, put together a runner-up finish at TPC Boston. Johnson needed to make that final putt at the Deutsche Bank to remain in the top 10 in the U.S. standings. Webb Simpson dropped from ninth to 11th in the U.S. standings after finishing T-53 at the Deutsche Bank and being passed by Johnson and Stricker.
Stricker’s runner-up finish moved him from 11th to seventh in the U.S. standings. Stricker was the only player on either team to move into the top 10 in the final week of qualification.
“It was a good week,” said Stricker. “I came here trying to get one of those last few spots on the team, knowing that I needed to play well. I had texted Freddie [Couples] earlier in the week. I didn’t want one of his spots as a pick, I wanted to make the team on my own. So I had great incentive, great motivation to play well this week. I’m excited to be part of another team and represent the USA at Muirfield.”
Johnson and Simpson were grouped together in the Deutsche Bank's final round. Johnson birdied two of the final three holes, while Simpson made bogey on two of the final four holes to shoot 38 on his last nine.
U.S. captain Fred Couples and International captain Nick Price will each finalize their 12-man teams by making two captain's selections Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern.
The 10 U.S. players who earned the most official PGA TOUR money from the 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola through the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship (with money earned in 2013 counting as double) automatically made the U.S. Team. The top 10 international players (excluding those eligible for the European Ryder Cup Team) from the Official World Golf Ranking after the conclusion of the Deutsche Bank Championship automatically made the International Team.
Phil Mickelson will be making his 10th Presidents Cup appearance. He has appeared in every Cup since its inception in 1994. Ernie Els and Tiger Woods will each be making their eighth appearance. Woods, who's won five PGA TOUR titles in 2013, led the United States' qualifying standings. He was followed by Brandt Snedeker, Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan and Johnson.
"We are very strong and very excited," Couples said. Snedeker, the reigning FedExCup champion, will make his first Presidents
Cup appearance, as will two major champions: Dufner, the 2013 PGA
Championship winner, and 2011 PGA winner Bradley.
Adam Scott, who won the Masters and The Barclays in 2013, led the International Team's qualifying. He will be making his sixth Presidents Cup appearance, having played every Cup since 2003. Angel Cabrera, who lost to Scott in a playoff at Augusta National, also qualified for the International Team, earning the 10th and final automatic spot.
Scott was followed in the International Team standings by Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel, Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace, Graham DeLet, Richard Sterne and Cabrera.
There were eight rookies among the 20 players who qualified for their respective teams, including half of the International Team’s 10 players. “I'm very happy with our team,” Price said. “It's a team made up of quite a few rookies, but what they lack in experience I think they will make up for this enthusiasm.”
South Africa's Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, will make his Presidents Cup debut for the International Team if his health allows. Oosthuizen has not played since withdrawing from this year’s Open Championship because of neck and back injuries. Oosthuizen intends to return for the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship the week before the Presidents Cup. Two of his countrymen, Grace and Sterne, also qualified for their first Presidents Cup.
“I think my biggest concern … right now is Louis Oosthuizen and how his health is going to be,” Price said. “I spoke to him last week on Monday a week ago. He's had three, four -- five weeks of therapy now, and he's very confident that he's going to be able to play.”
Canada’s DeLaet qualified for his first Presidents Cup with a runner-up finish at The Barclays, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs and second-to-last tournament before qualifying ended. DeLaet jumped from 14th to 10th in the International Team standings by finishing T-2 at Liberty National. He followed with a third-place finish at the Deutsche Bank to clinch his spot. He started 2013 at 56th in the International Team standings.
Japan’s Matsuyama, who finished in the top 10 in this year’s U.S. Open and Open Championship, also will play his first Presidents Cup. Matsuyama, 21, is the youngest player to automatically qualify for either team this year. He turned pro in April 2013 and won twice on the Japan Tour. He finished no worse than 21st in six PGA TOUR starts since turning pro.
The U.S. Team has won seven of the nine Presidents Cups. The only win by the International Team came in 1998 at Australia's Royal Melbourne. The 2003 Presidents Cup ended in a tie. Couples will be the United States' captain for the third consecutive Cup, while fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member Nick Price will lead the International Team. Couples led the United States to victories in 2009 at San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Club and 2011 at Royal Melbourne.
(Note:*-Presidents Cup rookie)
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