AKRON, Ohio — With just over a month remaining to qualifying for the Presidents Cup, this is shaping up as a new American team.
Charley Hoffman's playoff loss in the Canadian Open moved him to No. 10 in the standings, which is based on FedEx Cup points. That gives the U.S. team five players from the top 10 who have never competed in a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup. The others are Justin Thomas (No. 3), Daniel Berger (No. 4), Kevin Kisner (No. 7) and Kevin Chappell (No. 9). U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is No. 5 and has never played the Presidents Cup, though he played the Ryder Cup last fall.
U.S. captain Steve Stricker could see this coming.
He was an assistant to Davis Love III at Hazeltine last year. Thomas and Berger were invited to play the Minnesota course ahead of the final picks, though neither of them was chosen. The last pick went to Ryan Moore, another Cup rookie.
"You could see the change there, even though some of them didn't play," Stricker said. "You can see the movement is definitely going to younger, powerful players."
Right behind them is a blend of experience (Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker) and new (Brian Harman, Gary Woodland). The top 10 players qualify after the Dell Technologies Championship on Sept. 4.
That could have a bearing on how Stricker uses his captain's picks.
"It concerns me a little bit that we have a lot of rookies," he said. "But it also excites me what I'm seeing from them. They're very courageous, they're feisty, they're making clutch putts when they have to. It just shows a lot of guts. These guys are playing well and showing a little attitude when they're doing it, which is nice to see, especially in match play."
Phil Mickelson has dropped to No. 17. His best finish this year was reaching the quarterfinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play. Mickelson has never missed a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup since 1994, and he had to rely on a captain's pick for only the second time in his career in 2015. He went 3-0-1 for the week.
Stricker said he told Mickelson to give him good reasons to pick him if Lefty doesn't make it on his own.
"And he told me flat out he's going to make his way inside the top 10," Stricker said. "He feels like he's playing that well, he just needs to score a little bit better and see some putts to go in. But he's not worried about sneaking his way into the top 10."
NO SURE THING: PGA Tour players are often mistaken when they talk about one of the perks from reaching the Tour Championship — getting into the four major championships the following year.
That's not always the case.
Roberto Castro, who made it to the Tour Championship on the strength of his third-place finish at the BMW Championship, did not qualify for the PGA Championship. This is the second straight year that has happened — Steven Bowditch failed to qualify for the PGA Championship last year.
Castro has missed the cut in 14 of his last 18 events. He has fallen to No. 99 in the PGA Points list, which effectively is a money list from the 2016 Canadian Open through the 2017 Canadian Open. The top 70 earn spots in the PGA Championship.
It's rare that a player doesn't make it because accruing the money to get to the Tour Championship (plus earnings at East Lake) is enough to be in reasonable shape on the PGA Points list the following year.
Bowditch also hit a spell of bad form after reaching the 2015 Tour Championship, missing 11 out of 17 cuts.
The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open each give exemptions to players in the field at the Tour Championship. The PGA Championship does not.
FEHERTY'S SON: David Feherty, who brings comic relief and analysis to golf on NBC and Golf Channel, is coping with tragedy. Feherty revealed Tuesday on Twitter that his oldest son, Shey, died of a drug overdose on Saturday.
"My first born son is gone from me, dying from an overdose on his 29th birthday. Bless his sweet heart, I will fight on," Feherty tweeted.
A funeral service was held Tuesday in Dallas.
"Our deepest condolences go out to David Feherty and his family on the passing of his oldest son, Shey," Golf Channel said in a statement. "Family means everything to David, and his Golf Channel, NBC Sports and extended television family send their love and support at this difficult time."