"Battle of giants" looms as France hosts Ryder Cup

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The top eight on the points list on Sunday will punch their tickets to Paris - and Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed are absolute locks.

"Then the guys we're adding in, we want the best players".

But for a major champion who has played eight Ryder Cups, the key now is to show a degree of form rather than qualify outright.

Bjorn says having Woods among the 24 players would bring a special "buzz" to the next edition of the biennial matchup September 28-30 at Le Golf National.

'They're going to have a really strong team.

Woods was unable to earn any Ryder Cup points in 2017 - the majors, the World Golf Championship events and the Players Championship gave points - so getting to 20th in the standings heading into the PGA Championship is an impressive accomplishment.

Woods, set to be an assistant captain alongside Love in September's showdown with Europe at France's Le Golf National, must win the Wanamaker trophy for a record-tying fifth time to earn a berth on the United States squad on points. "It's exciting to see so many of them do well".

Europe's first eight players will not be announced until September, with captain Thomas Bjorn naming his four remaining players after that.

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"It definitely helps. It's nice to see how well he's playing", Furyk said.

"Sergio has so many qualities", Bjorn said. "I'm happy with what's going on, but still a big fight going on the for the last few places".

One player now on the outside looking in is Sergio Garcia, who hasn't been in good form since winning the 2017 Masters. "But what you have to keep reminding yourself as a player is you really have a job to do this week".

Ryder Cup stalwarts Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia all now lie outside of the standings, with 2016 members Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters also yet to qualify. Also in the mix for consideration are England's Ian Poulter, who has been a Ryder Cup force, Henrik Stenson, Thorbjorn Olesen, who's been hot, and Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who was a bright spot in defeat in Minneapolis two years ago.

In singles, however, where he can be the lone wolf, Woods is 4-1-2, hardly a co-incidence one would think. ("That was probably a sign that I should have picked up quicker on", Furyk said.) In 13 starts this season, Woods, coming off a fourth back surgery, has four finishes of T-6 or better. He already is a vice captain and has talked to Furyk since January about the possibility of a dual role if he also played. He had the lead on the back nine on Sunday at Carnoustie before fading into a tie for sixth.

Furyk has been around long enough to understand the additional pressure of the PGA Championship in a Ryder Cup year.

Fifty-one days until the Ryder Cup, and on both sides of the pond, there remains much work to do.