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Bubba back on Ryder Cup radar after win at Riv

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

So, each Monday, GolfChannel.com will take a way-too-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. Jimmy Walker, 3,686 

2. Dustin Johnson, 3,316

3. Phil Mickelson, 2,446

4. Harris English, 2,281 

5. Jason Dufner, 2,275

6. Zach Johnson, 2,196

7. Bubba Watson, 2,117

8. Webb Simpson, 1,996 

9. Ryan Moore, 1,986 

10. Chris Kirk, 1,819

11. Kevin Stadler, 1,569

12. Patrick Reed, 1,334 

Notes:

• Jimmy Walker wasn’t able to pad his victory total, but the T-20 at Riviera gave him his seventh top 25 in nine starts and pushed him closer to locking up a Ryder Cup spot.

Northern Trust Open winner Bubba Watson took a huge step toward securing his spot on the team with a dazzling weekend performance at the Riv. Watson climbed from No. 22 to No. 7 on the points list. The 2012 Masters champion went 2-2 as a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team at Medinah, but was left off last year’s Presidents Cup team after a sub-par year.    

• Jordan Spieth had a disappointing Sunday in LA, but he was able to bump up a spot, to No. 13, on the list. Barring a substantial downturn in form, it would seem very unlikely that Captain Watson would leave the uber-talented 20-year-old at home.

• Dustin Johnson added some crucial points by virtue of his runner-up finish at the Northern Trust, his second in a row on Tour. Another big mover last week was lefty Brian Harman, who jumped from 61st to 32nd after his T-3 at Riviera. 

• World No. 1 Tiger Woods is lurking at No. 34 on the list. Other surprise positions heading into the first WGC event of the calendar year: Matt Kuchar at No. 21, Brandt Snedeker at No. 27, Keegan Bradley at No. 30. 

EUROPEANS

European Points List (top 4 earn spots) 

1. Thomas Bjorn, 1,646,623

2. Victor Dubuisson, 1,595,151

3. Ian Poulter, 1,541,652 

4. Henrik Stenson, 1,472,687 

5. Jamie Donaldson, 1,470,994

6. Joost Luiten, 1,136,320 

7. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 1,134,264

8. Sergio Garcia, 1,005,355

9. Francesco Molinari, 812,138

10. David Howell, 795,908 

World Points List (top 5) 

1. Henrik Stenson, 244

2. Sergio Garcia, 158 

3. Thomas Bjorn, 132 

4. Ian Poulter, 109

5. Victor Dubuisson, 107

6. Rory McIlroy, 101

7. Jamie Donaldson, 88

8. Justin Rose, 80.35

9. Joost Luiten, 80.06 

10. Stephen Gallacher, 79

Notes: No new players cracked the top 10