Though Fred Funk had been rather morose after missing the cut by a stroke in the 86th PGA Championship here on Friday, there was great joy in the Funk household down in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on Sunday.
Funk was in danger of being bumped out of the No. 8 spot he occupied in the Ryder Cup points standings going into this week's final tournament to determine the 10 automatic qualifiers. In fact, if Justin Leonard, who finished second, had won the tournament, and Chris Riley had finished second instead of fourth, Funk would have been out of the top 10. Leonard's only chance to make it was to win the championship.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," said 47-year-old Funk, the Washington area native and former University of Maryland golf coach who will play on the first American Ryder Cup team of his career. "I was frustrated missing the cut this week [by a shot], and not being able to control my own destiny. But it's awesome, the highlight of my golf career."
Funk, who also played on the Presidents Cup team last September as a captain's choice of Jack Nicklaus, said he did not expect Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton to select him with one of his two wild-card choices. Sutton will announce those two picks at a news conference in Milwaukee on Monday morning.
"I didn't want to have Hal make the decision," Funk said. "I didn't expect him to pick me. He told me in Milwaukee, he told all of us, not to expect to be picked, to play well and things would take care of themselves.
"Fortunately, I played well in Milwaukee [finishing second two weeks ago], and that helped me make the team. . . . I know what to expect. I'll be playing for my country and my team and I don't want to let either of them down."
Two players were bumped from the top 10 after the finish of the PGA Championship. Steve Flesch, who started the week at No. 9, fell to No. 11, and Jay Haas, who went into the tournament No. 10, dropped to No. 12. Both men made the cut here but finished out of the top 10 in the tournament and scored no points. Runner-up Chris DiMarco moved up from the 15th spot all the way to No. 8. And Chris Riley, who tied for fourth in the PGA, went from No. 18 to No. 10.
Like most captains before him, Sutton hasn't given much indication of the players on his short list for the two extra picks. Still, there has been speculation that Haas and Scott Verplank may be the favorites. Leonard's performance this week, as well as his heroics in securing the extra half-point for the U.S. team to win the 1999 Ryder Cup in Boston, may get him into the mix, as well.
Tiger Woods, despite not having won a major championship since 2002, led the points list with 1,856, edging out No. 2 Phil Mickelson, with 1,835.
Also in the top 10 were No. 3 Davis Love III, No. 4 Jim Furyk, No. 5 Kenny Perry, No. 6 David Toms and No. 7 Chad Campbell. The 2004 team will include five Ryder Cup rookies -- Perry, Campbell, DiMarco, Funk and Riley.
The competition, three days of match-play golf, including a dozen singles matches on the last day, will be held at Oakland Hills in the Detroit suburbs Sept. 17-19. The European team, captained by Bernhard Langer, will not be known until Aug. 29.