Ryder Cup Spotlight - Team USA

Our twice-weekly update about how the American challenge is shaping up for the 2006 Ryder Cup begins today. See the latest standings and how they may be affected by this week’s tournament, the Buick Open.

There are just three more tournaments left for American players to score Ryder Cup points on the US Tour before Tom Lehman?s team is finalised ahead of the much-anticipated clash with Europe at Ireland?s K Club next month. Golf Monthly will now be updating this page twice a week ? before tournaments and afterwards ? so that readers have an accurate and up-to-date point of reference for the next few weeks. There will also be a completely separate section of the website, ?Ryder Cup 2006?, which will be launched closer to the start of the great event.

US Ryder Cup Standings ? 03/08/2006

Next tournament ? 2006 Buick Open, Warwick Hills G&CC, Michigan

Pos Player Points

1 Tiger Woods 3,775

2 Phil Mickelson 2,474

3 Jim Furyk 1,896

4 Chad Campbell 1,129

5 David Toms 1,072

6 Chris DiMarco 830

7 JJ Henry 778

8 Zach Johnson 756

9 Brett Wetterich 746

10 John Rollins 685

11 Vaughn Taylor 661

12 Jerry Kelly 654

13 Lucas Glover 641

14 Davis Love III 632

15 Fred Couples 628

*Ten players qualify for the team from the above points table. Ranking points are available up to and including the USPGA Championship, which ends on August 20th. Captain Tom Lehman will then add two wildcard picks.

Buick Open ? Player Watch

Tour favourite Vijay Singh will be looking to win the prestigious Buick Open for the third time in a row this week in Michigan, but a major side issue will be the scramble amongst the top American players for valuable Ryder Cup points. Time is running out for those players on the fringes of qualification, with the closure of the points scoring window just three weekends away. Eight of the current top ten players on the US list will be in action, including Open champion Tiger Woods.

The competition for places is extremely intense and, as a result of this, there is a live possibility that somebody can make a massive leap from the back of the queue to near the front. The 375 points that are on offer at the Buick means that anyone in the top 40 places can fly into the top 10 by claiming a victory.

Further evidence of the fact that every point between now and the conclusion of the USPGA Championship will be crucial seems to be everywhere. Corey Pavin?s single victory last weekend at the US Bank Championship, his first for ten years, was enough to move him up from 111th on the points list to 27th after just one good showing. If Pavin continues in his good form he may qualify himself ? meaning he will have to reconsider his role as one of Lehman?s non-playing assistants.

The fact that a massive 675 points are available to the winner of the USPGA alone mean that players will be fighting to the death ? the man in 10th place at present, John Rollins, only has 685 in total.

Potential Movers: Lucas Glover (13th), Tom Pernice Jr (17th), Aaron Oberholser (18th), Billy Mayfair (20th), Brett Quigley (21st), Scott Verplank (22nd), Jeff Sluman (23rd), Ben Curtis (24th), Corey Pavin (27th), Heath Slocum (30th)