NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Chris Kirk figured the Ryder Cup was out of his hands when he failed to earn one of the nine automatic spots. He already has plans to be at the Tennessee-Georgia football game during the matches in Scotland. He doesn't see any need to call U.S. captain Tom Watson and lobby for a pick.
"It's not like there's anything that I can do to sway it one way or another," Kirk said Monday after his victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship. "I can't say, 'Hey, Tom, please pick me now.' I don't think that's going to change his mind a whole lot."
Kirk did far more with his actions than his words.
He played the final 36 holes with Rory McIlroy, the best golfer in the world. He went the last 37 holes without a bogey on the TPC Boston. Even without a birdie on any of the par 5s, Kirk closed with a 5-under 66 and made three clutch putts to win a FedEx Cup playoff event.
"The biggest win of my career," he said.
How big? That could depend on Tuesday when Watson announces his three captain's picks.
The last three weeks — particularly the opening two events of the FedEx Cup playoffs — effectively served as an audition for players who didn't make the team. Hunter Mahan won last week at The Barclays. He already has played on two Ryder Cup teams.
Kirk doesn't have Ryder Cup experience, though his season deserves closer inspection. He finished No. 14 in the standings. He won for the second time this season — only three other Americans (Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson) have multiple wins in the wraparound season.
The 29-year-old player from Georgia was more interested in the light blue trophy sitting on the table next to him.
"Winning the Deutsche Bank and going to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, and $1.4 million, that's plenty for me for one day," he said with a smile.
It was hard work, as it usually is at this playoff event.
Kirk started the final round two shots behind Russell Henley and finally caught up with a birdie on the ninth hole. By then, the race was on. Billy Horschel, playing in the final group with Henley, never went away. Geoff Ogilvy was the mystery guest, making putts from everywhere.
Kirk took the outright lead for the first time with a 25-foot birdie putt. Equally important was the 15-foot putt he made to save par from a bunker on the 15th hole after a terrible wedge missed the green to the left. And then he made a birdie putt from just outside 12 feet on the par-3 16th for a two-shot lead.
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