Originally created 08/15/04

Players jockey for final spots



HAVEN, Wis. - Hal Sutton's mind is practically made up. He has his eyes fixed on several players as possible captain's choices for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

It's up to certain players to change his mind.

"Everybody is hoping for that last-minute miracle," Sutton said. "Everybody is trying to catch lightning in a bottle."

With the top 10 places on the U.S. Ryder Cup team secured through the points standings after today, Sutton will announce his two captain's picks Monday morning. It's a tight race with less than 30 points separating ninth through 14th place.

Here is an encapsulated look at the players hoping and hunting for a Ryder Cup berth:

PGA POINTS AVAILABLE

1st - 300; 2nd - 180; 3rd - 160; 4th - 140; 5th - 120; 6th - 100; 7th - 80; 8th - 60; 9th - 40; 10th - 20.

LOCKED AND LOADED

1. Tiger Woods (1,856.667); 2. Phil Mickelson (1,755.250); 3. Davis Love III (1,114.107); 4. Jim Furyk (859.479); 5. Kenny Perry (780.107); 6. David Toms (695.125); 7. Chad Campbell (680.000).

ON THE BUBBLE

FRED FUNK

CURRENT POINTS: 8th (596.959)

PGA STANDING: MC

OUTLOOK: Funk must wait and hope that three players don't pass him, because Sutton isn't likely to spend a wild card on him.

STEVE FLESCH

CURRENT POINTS: 9th (530.937)

PGA STANDING: T-18 at 4-under

OUTLOOK: Third-round 67 moved him into contention to pad his points. With a win this season and strong showings at the majors, Flesch would be hard not to take even if he slipped out of the top 10.

JAY HAAS

CURRENT POINTS: 10th (525.917)

PGA STANDING: T-11 at 5-under

OUTLOOK: Sutton hopes Haas stays in on points, because the 50-year-old would be impossible to pass up as a captain's pick. Nobody is more steady.

JERRY KELLY

CURRENT POINTS: 11th (523.625)

PGA STANDING: MC

OUTLOOK: Missing the cut might have killed Kelly's chances just two weeks after being in the top 10.

STEWART CINK

CURRENT POINTS: 12th (506.846)

PGA STANDING: T-25 at 3-under

OUTLOOK: Needs at least a 10th-place finish to get in on points. Depending on who automatically qualifies, Cink is considered a favorite on Sutton's short list.

JEFF MAGGERT

CURRENT POINTS: 13th (504.143)

PGA STANDING: DNS

OUTLOOK: Not qualifying for British Open and skipping the PGA to attend the birth of his twins on Wednesday left Maggert at captain's mercy.

SCOTT VERPLANK

CURRENT POINTS: 14th (501.250)

PGA STANDING: T-64 at 4-over

OUTLOOK: Partnered with Sutton to win a 2002 match. PGA struggles might not spoil captain's pick chances.

CHRIS DIMARCO

CURRENT POINTS: 15th (483.048)

PGA STANDING: 8th at 7-under

OUTLOOK: Weekend choke at The International damaged his cause for the second time in three years. DiMarco needs to finish at least eighth to make it.

JOHN DALY

CURRENT POINTS: 20th (401.250)

PGA STANDING: MC

OUTLOOK: Forget about it. Sutton isn't going to risk a pick on a player with a reputation for quitting.

BUBBLE BURSTERS

TODD HAMILTON

CURRENT POINTS: 17th (450.000)

PGA STANDING: T-64 at 4-over

OUTLOOK: Veteran rookie showed his mettle in winning the British Open and Honda Classic.

CHRIS RILEY

CURRENT POINTS: 18th (446.786)

PGA STANDING: T-3 at 8-under

OUTLOOK: Sutton wants a great putter, and he is as good as it gets despite average ball-striking.

CHARLES HOWELL

CURRENT POINTS: 21st (397.858)

PGA STANDING: T-25 at 3-under

OUTLOOK: Relatively poor 2004 season has hurt Sutton's confidence in Howell. Needs to at least tie for fourth to have any chance of making it on points.

JUSTIN LEONARD

CURRENT POINTS: 30th (289.607)

PGA STANDING: 2nd at 11-under

OUTLOOK: If he wins, he's in. But even a close call will give Sutton pause to consider the hero of the 1999 Ryder Cup.