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Ryder Cup watch list: Walker firmly entrenched

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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 top 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.

AMERICANS

The current top 12:

1. Jimmy Walker, 3,605 points

2. Dustin Johnson, 2,593

3. Phil Mickelson, 2,446

4. Jason Dufner, 2,261 

5. Zach Johnson, 2,196

6. Harris English, 2,106

7. Ryan Moore, 1,986

8. Webb Simpson, 1,982

9. Chris Kirk, 1,819

10. Kevin Stadler, 1,511 

11. Patrick Reed, 1,334

12. Brian Stuard, 1,228 

Notes:

• Walker further entrenched himself in the No. 1 spot by virtue of his third victory of the season, making him a virtual lock for the team, regardless of what he accomplishes the rest of this season. His 3,605 points would rank him 11th on the 2012 Ryder Cup list, but no three-time winner has ever been left off a Ryder Cup squad. In a Ryder Cup year, players earn a point for every $1,000 earned, with points doubled at the majors.  

• Dustin Johnson moved from sixth to second in points after his T-2 finish at Pebble Beach. He played on the 2010 Ryder Cup team.

Jordan Spieth made a modest jump, from 20th to 14th, after his T-4 finish on the Monterey Peninsula. That’s a good sign for the 20-year-old reigning Rookie of the Year, who was starting his sophomore year at Texas when the last Ryder Cup was contested. He was a captain’s pick for the 2013 Presidents Cup.

Hunter Mahan is now 17th on the points list after his strong week at Pebble. He was a key player the last time the Ryder Cup was held overseas, in Wales in 2010. Mahan and Graeme McDowell were in the last singles match on the course, and the American lost, 3 and 1, to hand the trophy to the Europeans.

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, 105 

6. Rory McIlroy, 101 

7. Jamie Donaldson, 88

8. Joost Luiten, 80 

9. Stephen Gallacher, 79

10. Justin Rose, 78

Notes: The standings remain unchanged from a week ago