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Four big Euro names outside Ryder Cup picture

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This could be the most hotly contested Ryder Cup ever – and we’re talking about just making the team.

Each Monday, GolfChannel.com will take an early look at the players who are vying for one of the 12 spots on the team. Nine players make the squad via their respective points list, and both captain Tom Watson and Paul McGinley will have three wild-card picks apiece.


AMERICANS

The current top 12:

1. Bubba Watson, 6,828
2. Jimmy Walker, 5,510
3. Rickie Fowler, 5,403
4. Jim Furyk, 5,259
5. Dustin Johnson, 5,133
6. Jordan Spieth, 4,781
7. Matt Kuchar, 4,764
8. Jason Dufner, 3,516
9. Zach Johnson, 3,450
10. Patrick Reed, 3,301
11. Phil Mickelson, 3,252
12. Brendon Todd, 3,250

Notes:
• Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk are virtual locks for the team after their strong performances at the Open. Fowler played in his second consecutive final group on a major Sunday, tying for second, while Furyk finished fourth to record his sixth top 10 of the season. Furyk had been a part of every U.S. team competition since 1997 until he was not selected for the 2013 Presidents Cup team.

• Phil Mickelson felt encouraged by his T-23 finish at Hoylake, but he remains outside the top 10 in the standings heading into a critical portion of the season. Watson made headlines last week by saying that neither Mickelson (now No. 11) nor Tiger Woods (No. 70) were automatically going to be picked.


EUROPEANS

European Points List (top 4 qualify)

1. Victor Dubuisson, 2,490,346
2. Jamie Donaldson, 2,395,561
3. Henrik Stenson, 2,366,878
4. Thomas Bjorn, 2,303,207
5. Martin Kaymer, 1,953,042
6. Ian Poulter, 1,905,382
7. Rory McIlroy, 1,827,848
8. Justin Rose, 1,788,164
9. Joost Luiten, 1,564,816
10. Miguel Angel Jimenez, 1,530,675

World Points List (top 5)

1. Henrik Stenson, 343
2. Sergio Garcia, 267
3. Rory McIlroy, 258
4. Justin Rose, 255
5. Martin Kaymer, 244
6. Thomas Bjorn, 189
7. Victor Dubuisson, 172
8. Jamie Donaldson, 162
9. Luke Donald, 160
10. Ian Poulter, 147

Notes:
• They were likely selections anyway, but Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy secured their spot on the European team by virtue of their finishes at Royal Liverpool. They are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the World Points list.

• McGinley likely was pleased to see a return to form by Victor Dubuisson, whose T-9 finish at the Open was only his second top 10 worldwide since the WGC-Match Play in February.

• Among the players with work to do leading into the final few weeks of qualifying: Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. Currently, none of those four players would be automatic qualifiers.