Webb Simpson moves into contention for Ryder Cup qualifying spot

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Webb Simpson took a major step toward a third appearance on the Ryder Cup USA team with his dominating win at the Players Championship.

Simpson soared to No. 9 in the Ryder Cup Standings after starting the weekend at No. 23. The first eight players in the standings earn automatic qualifier status.

After his victory Sunday, Simpson spoke at length about his career struggles in recent years. He had not won on the PGA Tour since 2014, which was also the last year he appeared in the Ryder Cup. The ban on putter anchoring nearly ended his career after it went into effect in 2016.

“My wife was with me every step of the way. We’ve spent the last few years, many dinners with me in tears being frustrated about my golf game, and she was right there the whole time just supporting me,” he said.

Simpson was also a member of the Ryder Cup squad and won the U.S. Open in 2012.

Masters champ Patrick Reed remains No. 1. The other seven players who would automatically qualify at this stage are (in order) Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson.

The eight automatic qualifiers will be set on Aug. 12, after completion of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive. Furyk also gets four picks.

Tiger Woods finished T11 at 11-under on the TPC Sawgrass course. He moved up to No. 31 in the standings, from 34th place. Woods will be in Paris as an vice captain for Jim Furyk along with Steve Stricker, but has said he hopes to play.

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