Fowler led by one shot entering the final round at Bethpage Black, and he appeared in position to knock Johnson out of the top eight with four holes to go. But Fowler played that stretch in 3 over, falling from solo second place into a tie for seventh.
The difference in earnings meant that Johnson, who started the week at No. 7 in the American standings, was passed by tournament winner Patrick Reed but remained ahead of Fowler.
“Disappointing back nine. I didn’t drive it the way I needed to,” Fowler said. “It was just a little off here and there. You had to be playing out of the fairway. So yeah, very disappointing.”
Reed’s victory moved him from eighth to fourth in the final standings.
Five players had already clinched spots at Hazeltine prior to this week: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka. Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson earned the final three automatic spots based on this week’s results.
Fowler’s struggle down the stretch also meant that he moved up only one spot in the standings, from 12th to 11th. Bubba Watson ended up as the bubble boy at No. 9, followed by J.B. Holmes, Fowler and Matt Kuchar.
U.S. captain Davis Love III will make three captain’s picks on Sept. 12 following the BMW Championship, and will add the final player to his 12-man roster on Sept. 25 following the season-ending Tour Championship.