Fred Couples' top 5 Presidents Cup possibilities
By Alex Myers
For Zach Johnson and Webb Simpson, two years of qualifying for the Presidents Cup came down to one shot. Johnson made a 26-footer for birdie on the final hole at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday to jump over Webb Simpson, with whom he just happened to be playing, for the 10th and final automatic spot on the team.
As a result, Simpson fell into a pool of players who can still be picked for the team by Fred Couples. On Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT, the U.S. captain will select the squad's last two players for the Oct. 3-6 competition at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Here are his five best options:
In his favor: The 2012 U.S. Open champ seemed like a lock to make the team again until Johnson and Steve Stricker passed him at TPC Boston. He went 3-2 in his first Presidents Cup appearance in Sydney in 2011. He made the quarterfinals in the World Match Play in February.
Working against him: Simpson has been a top-25 machine in 2013, but he has just four top 10s and hasn't won a tournament since his claiming his maiden major last year at Olympic Club.
Will Simpson and Watson be back on Couples' squad?
In his favor: The long hitter could be a dangerous weapon for Captain Couples during team play. He finished T-8 at last month's PGA Championship and went 3-0 at last year's Ryder Cup.
Working against him: After a win to start 2013, Johnson has had a rocky season. He had just four more top-10 finishes and went nearly two months from April to June in which he didn't complete a tournament due to missed cuts and injuries.
__In his favor:__The 43-year-old is playing his best golf of the year, with four consecutive top 10s, including a runner-up at the PGA Championship, before a T-27 in Boston. He went 5-0 at the Presidents Cup two years ago to become just the fourth player to win all five of his matches in the same year.
Working against him: Furyk followed up his spectacular performance at the 2011 Presidents Cup with a poor showing at last year's Ryder Cup. He went 1-2 and lost a pivotal singles match to Sergio Garcia when he bogeyed the final two holes.
In his favor: Like Johnson, his length is intriguing when putting together pairings. He went 3-2 for the U.S. in the team's win over the Internationals in 2011.
Working against him: Watson has just one top-10 finish in a full-field, stroke-play event in 2013 and hasn't won since his win at the 2012 Masters.
In his favor: The 20-year-old arguably is playing better than any other American right now, with a win at the John Deere and a playoff loss in Greensboro. In his final audition, he shot a Monday 62 at TPC Boston to jump to T-4 in the Deutsche Bank Championship, and become the first player since Tiger Woods to start a season without status on any professional tour and earn a spot in the Tour Championship.
Working against him: Spieth lacks the experience in team events that the other candidates have. He's also only No. 22 on the Presidents Cup points list, though considering he's had just one season to accumulate points, perhaps that number should work in his favor as well.