Race for USA’s Ryder Cup qualifiers hotting up down the straight

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As the golfing world pauses for a new event on their calendar in Rio, it leaves a little time to take stock over the race to compete at this year’s Ryder Cup.

Despite the top five in the rankings looking rather locked in, the composition of the final three automatic spots for USA’s team is particularly intriguing.

As many as nine players are in with a chance of booking their place at Hazeltine National, with three qualifying events remaining on the PGA Tour.

The top eight point scorers on the hosts’ leaderboard will land a place in Davis Love III’s team after the conclusion of The Barclays towards the end of August.

With a comfortable lead already, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka have little to sweat on in that time.

However, Zach Johnson, JB Holmes and Patrick Reed, who occupy the last three qualifying places, are likely to be looking over their shoulders.

Behind them is a chasing pack containing some of the game’s best-known names, all hoping to collect enough points to springboard into the promised zone.

Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are the four within closest reach. The former pair fell out of the top eight after Reed leapfrogged them with his tie for 11th at the Travelers Championship last time out.

Further down the list, Daniel Berger made significant strides with a T5 finish at the Travelers and could have jumped closer to the top 10 with victory.

Those that fall just short of the automatic spots are offered a second chance of making the team through the captain’s picks.

Love III has four of them to hand out and will announce the first three after the BMW Championship in early September. The final squad member will then be revealed following the Tour Championship a week later.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.