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By Joel Beall
Tiger Woods might have finished 10 shots behind Quicken Loans National winner Francesco Molinari, but Tiger’s T-4 finish was his second-best of the season and third top-five performance of the campaign. While it was a fine display, especially given it marked his final tune-up for the Open Championship, Woods’ showing also moved him closer to playing in France this fall.
In the latest update to the Ryder Cup standings, the 42-year-old vaulted up 11 spots to No. 28 in the American rankings. It is the first time Woods has cracked the top 30 this year.
Woods, who is already signed up to serve as a vice captain to Jim Furyk, has entertained the idea of a playing assistant multiple times this year. Last week, Furyk was evasive on what it would take for Tiger to earn a spot.
The top eight point earners after the PGA Championship will automatically qualify for the team. The remaining four slots on the U.S. club will be picked by Furyk, three which will be announced after the Dell Technologies Championship and the final pick coming after the BMW Championship. With timing running out and Tiger slated to play in just a handful of events in that span, Woods would need to win the Open or PGA to automatically qualify.
The top eight are currently filled by Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau. Phil Mickelson is just outside this barrier at No. 10.
Woods’ last U.S. team appearance came at the 2013 Presidents Cup. This year’s Ryder Cup begins on Sept. 28 at Le Golf National. The Americans are the defending champs, but haven’t won in Europe in 25 years.