Ryder Cup February Updates
By Torleif Sorenson on 2/12/14
The big event is still over seven months away, but this week, several Ryder Cup-related items have made news. We simply couldn't sleep at night without making you aware of these developments.

February Qualifier?

Earlier this week, we told you about Jimmy Walker winning his third tournament during this 2014 PGA Tour season. When your humble correspondent woke up this morning, the question came to mind: Has Jimmy Walker nailed down a spot on the 2014 United States Ryder Cup team?

The answer: Almost.

As of Monday, Walker has earned 3,605 points and sits atop the ladder with 1,012 points more than number two-ranked Dustin Johnson. Walker earned 1,188 points for his win at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

Point of reference: At the cutoff for the 2012 Ryder Cup points race, ninth-ranked Hunter Mahan had 4,082 points, captain's pick Steve Stricker had 4,015 points, captain's pick Jim Furyk had 3,369, and captain's pick Brandt Snedeker had 3,176. (Tiger Woods led all players with 6,014 points.)

Assuming Walker continues to play well, including in the majors, he should have no trouble at all making the team on points.

The captain's second lieutenant

Last summer, U.S. Ryder Cup team captain Tom Watson selected Andy North as his first assistant captain. On Tuesday, Watson named four-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd as his second golf cart driver assistant captain. Golf Channel reporter Jason Sobel opined yesterday that Floyd is likely to bring a "no-nonsense, fire-and-brimstone personality" to Gleneagles — a bit of a departure from Davis Love III's roster of assistants, which included Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman, and the very admirable Scott Verplank.

Inside Information

Speaking of Couples, the five-time Ryder Cup team member has told Martin Dempster of The Scotsman that he feels Watson will be far less casual in his team leadership than Couples himself was at the Presidents Cup:
"Whereas I can't change and be serious and kinda strict and stern, Tom Watson is more of a serious student of everybody. I think he's going to think he knows most of the players, but it's going to be hard because I don't know how many he really, really knows. But he's got a few months to go to tournaments and I'm sure he will have a few dinners and meet the guys, get to know them and figure out what to do."
Couples also said that he would be shocked if Tiger Woods doesn't play well at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill, and The Masters.

Couples also offered this thought about asking to be partnered with specific teammates:
"[Davis Love III] and I didn't play that many matches together and that's very weird to me. But we were younger then and didn't have the guts to say 'we need to play together' to guys like Ray Floyd, Hale Irwin and even Tom Watson.

"With me, I tell the players 'if you are mad at me, tell me; if you have a suggestion, let me know what it is.' But that certainly doesn't make me a better captain than anyone else."
We have at least 29 more tournaments to go before the points cut-off and hundreds, if not thousands, of things are likely to happen between now and then. But getting there is part of the fun.

"There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it."
— Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1910), American essayist and novelist

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