Though not official just yet, Patrick Cantlay figures to be a lock for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Cantlay sits third in the Americans' qualifying points standings, with the top six points-earners following this week's BMW Championship automatically on the team. The two players ahead of Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and U.S. Open champ Wyndham Clark, are already locked in.
Behind Cantlay are Brian Harman, LIV Golf member Brooks Koepka and Max Homa — followed by a host of questions.
U.S. captain Zach Johnson will fill out his roster for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome with six captain's picks. Cantlay said Johnson is "very equipped" to make the tough roster decisions coming up.
"I know Zach is keeping a close eye, and he obviously has played a ton of great golf out here, so there's no one more capable of making educated picks than him," Cantlay told reporters Tuesday, "and I trust him, and he'll do a great job."
While some players have a chance of moving into the top six with a strong finish at the BMW, several big names are going to need a captain's pick regardless. If Johnson were to go with Nos. 7-12 in the standings, those spots are currently occupied by Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns.
Further down the list but still in contention are the resurgent Rickie Fowler, a slumping Justin Thomas, Harris English and Tony Finau — each of whom has represented the U.S. at the Ryder Cup.
And what to do about 43-year-old former major winner Lucas Glover, riding a two-tournament winning streak into the BMW and in better form than many of his younger American peers?
Cantlay knows there will not be room for everyone.
"This go-around seems like it's maybe tougher than years past," he said. "There's a lot of horses for a limited amount of slots. It's going to be a tough pick for him or tough set of picks."
Cantlay said he would give his "unfiltered opinion" on who deserves a spot should Johnson ask him for it.
Johnson won't have to think too hard about Cantlay, who made his Ryder Cup debut on the victorious American team in 2021 and has excelled in match-play formats, particularly when paired with Schauffele.
Cantlay has won the past two BMW Championships, though they were held at different courses. He defeated Bryson DeChambeau in a dramatic playoff at Caves Valley outside Baltimore in 2021 en route to winning the FedEx Cup. Last season, he repeated at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club before Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy won his third FedEx Cup a week later.
The 31-year-old enters the week No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings after Glover defeated him in a playoff last week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
"Going into the finale with the way the Tour Championship is set up now, it's really important to be up there as close as you can to No. 1," Cantlay said. "Happy to put myself in a good spot and hopefully improve on that spot this week."
—Field Level Media