Mickelson in, Dufner out for US Ryder Cup team
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Phil Mickelson picked up a small consolation Sunday after his runner-up finish in the PGA Championship. He extended his American record by qualifying for his 10th consecutive Ryder Cup team.
The PGA Championship was the final qualifying event for nine Americans to make the team that will try to win back the cup from Europe on Sept. 26-28 in Scotland.
Mickelson’s feat is amazing in this era of greater depth. He qualified for his first team just two years after Jordan Spieth was born. They will be teammates at Gleneagles.
Making the team on his own was important to the five-time major champion, and he didn’t want Tom Watson to spend one of his three captain’s picks on him. Mickelson effectively wrapped up his spot going into the final round, and then nearly won the PGA Championship until falling one shot short of Rory McIlroy.
With his runner-up finish — points count double in a major — Mickelson moved up to No. 5.
Masters champion Bubba Watson led the final points list for the first time and will play in his third Ryder Cup. He was followed by Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker, Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson.
Jason Dufner fell out of the top nine. Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship on Thursday because of a neck injury and was not sure how long he would be out.
Johnson was assured of passing Dufner by making the cut. Johnson closed with a 77, and he wound up 8.974 points ahead of Dufner, or the equivalent of $8,974.
Ryan Moore was at No. 11, followed by Brendon Todd and Keegan Bradley, who missed the cut.
Watson will make his three picks on Sept. 2, giving players at least three weeks to audition for him next week at the Wyndham Championship, and then the opening two FedEx Cup playoff events at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship.
Tiger Woods, who missed the cut by five shots at the PGA Championship with a sore back, finished at No. 70 and is not playing again the rest of the season. Dustin Johnson would have qualified for the team except that he is taking a “voluntary leave” indefinitely to confront what he described as personal challenges.
Europe has never been this big of a favorite with six weeks to go before the matches.
For the first time, Europeans won three of the four majors — McIlroy at the British Open and PGA Championship, and Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open. Henrik Stenson, who tied for third at the PGA, moved up to No. 2 behind McIlroy in European points.
“We will not be underestimating them,” European captain Paul McGinley said.
The Americans have three Ryder Cup rookies on the team so far — Walker, Spieth and Reed. Spieth played in the Presidents Cup last year at Muirfield Village.