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Watch list: Walker tops Ryder points; where's Tiger?

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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 team 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: 2,417.833
  2. Phil Mickelson: 2,353.900
  3. Jason Dufner: 2,261.279
  4. Dustin Johnson: 2,012.412
  5. Harris English: 1,896.360
  6. Zach Johnson: 1,865.677
  7. Chris Kirk: 1,793.658
  8. Ryan Moore: 1,778.501
  9. Webb Simpson: 1,758.498
  10. Matt Kuchar: 951.393
  11. Brian Stuard: 947.800
  12. Jim Furyk: 921.040

Notes:

• Jimmy Walker moved to the top of the list after his second victory in six starts. As a point of reference, the No. 9 player in 2012 needed 4,082 points, but that total likely will increase this year with the inclusion of the fall tournaments.

• Harris English, one of the best players in the game under 30, jumped from No. 7 to No. 5 on the list after another good week at the Sony.

• Just a guess: In nine months, Brian Stuard will not be No. 11 on this list.

• Tiger Woods is currently 20th in points, more than 1,700 points behind Walker.

• Other players outside the top 20: Keegan Bradley (25th), Hunter Mahan (28th), Steve Stricker (32nd), Rickie Fowler (34th), Bill Haas (36th) and Bubba Watson (47th).


EUROPEANS

European Points List (top 4 earn spots):

  1. Victor Dubuisson: 1,595,151.96
  2. Thomas Bjorn: 1,589,720.53
  3. Ian Poulter: 1,541,652.26
  4. Jamie Donaldson: 1,443,759.85
  5. Henrik Stenson: 1,440,939.97
  6. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: 1,134,264.58
  7. Joost Luiten: 1,048,625.69
  8. Francesco Molinari: 786,403.62

World Points List (top 5):

  1. Henrik Stenson: 240.65
  2. Thomas Bjorn: 119.13
  3. Sergio Garcia: 111.26
  4. Ian Poulter: 108.43
  5. Victor Dubuisson: 94.37
  6. Jamie Donaldson: 82.12
  7. Justin Rose: 78.84
  8. Rory McIlroy: 70.84
  9. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: 70.33
  10. Luke Donald: 69.15

Notes: 

• Newcomer Victor Dubuisson was nowhere near the top of this list just a few months ago. Here’s guessing he won’t be the last guy to come out of nowhere and challenge for a spot.

• Conventional wisdom says Ian Poulter will have a spot on the European side, somehow, unless he’s mysteriously abducted before the matches.

• European stalwarts (and usual partners) Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have work to do to ensure that they’ll be around at Gleneagles. 

• Yes, he’s played well recently, with two worldwide victories since September to rise to No. 24 in the world. But it’ll be interesting to see whether Thomas Bjorn, who turns 43 next month, to extend this red-hot form and earn his way onto the team.