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Watch list: Stadler, Gallacher on Ryder Cup radar

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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.

AMERICANS

The current top 12: 

1. Jimmy Walker, 2,417

2. Phil Mickelson, 2,374

3. Jason Dufner, 2,261

4. Zach Johnson, 2,196

5. Harris English, 2,106

6. Dustin Johnson, 2,012

7. Ryan Moore, 1,986

8. Webb Simpson, 1,982

9. Chris Kirk, 1,805

10. Kevin Stadler, 1,492 

11. Brian Stuard, 1,228

12. Patrick Reed, 1,217 

Notes:

• Before penciling in Phoenix Open winner Stadler for a spot on the U.S. team, he’ll need to be more consistent – he has just five top 10s since last January. Always one of the Tour’s elite ball-strikers, Stadler's form is largely dependent on his putting (hasn’t finished better than 150th in strokes gained-putting since 2009). 

• Charles Howell III has a Tour-best five top 10s so far in the new wraparound season. He’s currently 15th on the list.

• So, um, where is world No. 1 Tiger Woods? He is No. 29 on the list. 

• Bubba Watson’s T-2 at TPC Scottsdale moved him from 50th to 19th. After tying for fourth in Phoenix, Hunter Mahan jumped from No. 37 to No. 26.

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, 101.40

6. Rory McIlroy, 101.32

7. Jamie Donaldson, 88

8. Joost Luiten, 80

9. Stephen Gallacher, 79

10. Justin Rose, 78

Notes: 

• Gallacher’s victory in Dubai put him on the Ryder Cup radar at No. 9 on the World Points List. If he can continue that form throughout the spring and summer, the Scotsman will be a hard man to leave off the squad with the event heading to Gleneagles. 

• A pair of former world No. 1s need to pick up their form in order to make the team. Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are well down the points list and no longer locks to make the 12-man squad based on reputation alone.

Graeme McDowell – McIlroy’s usual partner in the team format – makes his 2014 debut this week at Pebble Beach. It’s worth noting that he begins his year outside the top 20 on both points lists.