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Ryder Cup: Jim Furyk announces 8 qualifiers, Tiger Woods awaits nod

By
Alex Butler
Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk announces the 2018 team during a press conference on Monday at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Mo. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk announces the 2018 team during a press conference on Monday at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Mo. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka was an automatic qualifier for the United States' Ryder Cup squad on Monday, while Tiger Woods waits for an at-large bid.

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk unveiled the team's automatic qualifiers on Monday morning at Bellerive Country Club, one day after Koepka edged Woods by two strokes to win the 2018 PGA Championship at the St. Louis area course. Koepka, 28, won the Wanamaker Trophy for his second major championship of the year, following his victory in June at the 2018 U.S. Open in New York.

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Dustin Johnson -- the No. 1 player in the world -- Masters champ Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and 2018 Players Championship winner Webb Simpson were the other seven automatic qualifiers named to Furyk's squad.

"I'm excited. I know these eight players are excited as well," Furyk told reporters. "I've been waiting 18 months to get a feel for who our qualifiers would be, who the eight players would be and that 18 months has flown by in certain respects. It also seems like it has taken forever."

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The United States won the 2016 Ryder Cup over team Europe. Woods served as a vice captain during that triumph. That victory ended a run of three consecutive Ryder Cup triumphs for the Europeans. The United States team has won just two of the last eight Ryder Cup matches.

Woods' second place finish at the PGA Championship was his best finish in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship. He has yet to win a tournament in 2018, but has finished in the top five four times. Woods also finished tied for sixth place at the 2018 British Open.

"When I look at my captain's picks, I'll be looking at guys that have had a great body of work this year, guys that are playing well and maybe hot players at the time," Furyk said. "I'm looking at pairings. I'm looking at who fits in well with these eight players. I'm also looking at the golf course."

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PGA golfer Tiger Woods eyes up his putt on the 17th green of the 100th PGA Championship on Sunday at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Mo. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Furyk said he wasn't so sure how important the rankings were when looking to identify his captain's picks.

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"What is important is how well Tiger has played, sixth place at the Open Championship, a second place at the PGA," Furyk said. "His game ... I think the word he used was 'trending.' It's great to see him playing well. For me the numbers are nice, good to look at, but not always the most important. We want the players that are going to help us be successful."

Furyk said he hasn't defined a set number to choose from for his four captain's picks, saying the group could include more than eight players.

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The 2018 Ryder Cup begins on Sept. 25 at Le Golf National in Paris.

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