The Loop

Kevin Chappell making Ryder Cup case, despite putting it out of mind

September 23, 2016

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ATLANTA -- If you listen to Davis Love III, he’s looking at everybody in the field at this week’s Tour Championship (a dozen eligible Americans) and even some who aren’t when considering who to choose with his fourth captain’s pick Sunday night for this year’s Ryder Cup.   If you listen to more than a few players at East Lake, that decision is already made, despite the Americans instituting a change to save their last pick for the ability to tap the hot player. Two years ago Billy Horschel closed out the season with a runner-up and two wins with the team already finalized and he was not on it.   Maybe it’s gamesmanship. Maybe Love is being coy. Maybe he’s being politically correct.   Or maybe he does really have his mind made up.   “No,” said Kevin Chappell when asked Friday if the Ryder Cup is on his mind this week. “You guys probably had more conversations with Davis Love III than I have.   “I'd love to be on the team. I'd love to have the opportunity. But just due to the lack of communication, I've kind of put it out of the back of my mind.”   A compelling case can certainly be made for the laid back 30-year-old from Northern California.   Through two rounds at East Lake, Chappell is just one back of leader Dustin Johnson after a two-under 68 on Friday. And though Chappell has yet to win on tour in his career, this season he has seven top 10s, including three runner-up finishes, a tie for third and a tie for fourth.   Among the players who have won in that stretch: Rory McIlroy, Johnson and Jason Day (twice).   “It seems like I like going against the hot player at the time,” Chappell cracked. “But maybe the third time's the charm.”   It’s one thing not to close out a tournament and win. It’s another to run into the best players in the world.   Johnson is certainly one of them. In his last start two weeks ago, he cruised to victory at the BMW Championship for his third win in his last eight starts. He had a runner-up in there, too.   Saturday, Chappell will play alongside Johnson. Maybe it’s a chance to impress Love. Either way, it’s an opportunity he relishes more than one he’s shying away from.   “I will be watching Dustin,” Chappell said. “He's the best player in the world right now, and it's an opportunity for me to see where my game is. There's a golf tournament going on, and I have a chance to win that. That's the ultimate goal. But I also have a chance to see why he's the best player in the world right now, and I look forward to taking advantage of that opportunity.”   And an opportunity for Love to take a good look at Chappell, too.