FARMINGALE, N.Y. -- While most golf fans are focused on the Barclays at Bethpage Black this week, some eyes are looking ahead to the Ryder Cup. Particularly those of this year's captain Davis Love III, who will announce which four players will earn his captain's picks and join the eight who've already been determined by the points standings.
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The first four players outside the top eight are Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, and Rickie Fowler. It's hard to imagine anyone else making the squad, though there are a few worthy names close behind, like Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker.
It's safe to say that Rickie Fowler is pretty much a lock. He's having a strong year thus far that includes his first PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow and four other top ten finishes. And who can forget about his Ryder Cup experience in 2010? Fowler, who at the time was a 21-year-old PGA Tour rookie, made a statement by birdying the last four holes against Edoardo Molinari to halve the match and earn a half point for the desperate US squad. The half point was ultimately meaningless, but in earning it, Fowler proved himself worthy of Corey Pavin's captain's pick.
This year, Fowler is hoping to get the nod from Love, but says he isn't concerned with the Ryder Cup just yet.
"I'm trying not to think about it, but I keep it in the back of my mind," said a cool, comfortable, backwards-hatted Fowler after a round of one-under 70 today. "If I keep playing well, I'll let my game talk for itself."
His game has certainly done some talking in the last year, and it seems that the Ryder Cup helped his game mature even further.
"It was a special experience. Those last few holes in the singles match were kind of like coming down the stretch trying to win a tournament. That definitely helped me at Quail Hollow."
At the Barclays, Fowler is currently in a tie for sixth at six under after rounds of 67 and 70. If Rickie can continue playing through the weekend, at least one of Davis Love's choices will virtually have been made for him.Follow @BrendanMohlerGW