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US PGA Championship: Major motivation for Ryder Cup hopefuls

Posted By: OPTA
Bryson DeChambeau

Missouri, August 7: Each of the last four American winners of the US PGA Championship had never won a major before triumphing.

Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker and Justin Thomas have all won the year's final major since 2011.

With the Ryder Cup on the horizon, this year's tournament at Bellerive Country Club has extra value for those hoping to be in Jim Furyk's USA team.

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Thomas and Patrick Reed are already assured of their spots but four more automatic places are up for grabs.

Here are five players who could earn one of those Ryder Cup berths with a maiden major win this week.

Bryson DeChambeau

The nearest man to breaking into the top eight is DeChambeau, who trails Webb Simpson by a mere 49 points. DeChambeau is one of the few on the bubble to have won a tour event this year as he shot 15 under to win the Memorial Tournament in June. That was the fourth top-four finish he had achieved in seven tournaments and at that point he looked on course for an automatic Ryder Cup selection. Only one top-10 finish since has hampered his bid to be in France and DeChambeau is yet to truly contend at a major.

Xander Schauffele

Schauffele has tended to save his best for the majors this year. He came second at Carnoustie in The Open and was five strokes from Koepka's tournament-winning total at the U.S. Open before that. Schauffele was also a joint runner-up at The Players Championship earlier this year at Sawgrass and his penchant for delivering his best in the leading competitions bodes well for his Ryder Cup chances. Yet he will arrive in Missouri aiming to forget about what happened on the final day at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as he carded an eight-over 78 that featured three double bogeys.

Kyle Stanley

Outside of eventual winner Thomas, no one did more for their Ryder Cup prospects at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational than Stanley. The 30-year-old recorded his second second-placed finish on the PGA Tour this year - both of which have come in the state of Ohio. Stanley will take heart from his performance at The Open, where he was three under three holes into the final day before eventually signing for a 76 which saw him drop well down the leaderboard. However, Stanley will need to improve his record at the year's final major given he has never previously made the cut.

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar has appeared in four previous Ryder Cup teams and his vast experience in team competitions would surely be a factor when Furyk decides on his four captain's picks. The 40-year-old would take matters into his hands if he succeeds at Bellerive CC, though. Kuchar has won seven PGA titles across his career but a major success has so far eluded him. He has been close and would dearly love to get over the line having led The Open late on last year only to pipped to the Claret Jag by compatriot Jordan Spieth.

Tony Finau

One of the longest drivers on the tour, Finau is another who has thrived in the major spotlight this year. He came tied-10th at Augusta in the Masters having bookended his week with scores of 68 and 66, was fifth at the U.S. Open and then fired an opening-round 67 en route to a tied ninth-placed finish at The Open. Finau produced three sub-70 rounds at Firestone last week to show he is a man in form too and he might be a dark horse to win it all in St. Louis.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 13:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Aug 7, 2018
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