The cup that matters to some Americans at BMW Championship has nothing to do with money

Keegan Bradley watch his shot out of a bunker on the eighth green during the pro-am round of the BMW Championship golf tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Olympia Fields, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — The BMW Championship is the final event that decides who reaches the FedEx Cup finale, and it’s all about position in the standings.

For the Americans, it has nothing to do with money.


“The one spot I want to be on is on that Ryder Cup team,” Keegan Bradley said. “Wherever that is on the FedEx Cup, I’ll take it.”

The BMW Championship also is the final qualifying event for Americans to earn the six automatic spots on the Ryder Cup team. So it was not surprising to hear how much the Ryder Cup was on Bradley’s mind. The short answer: a lot.

“I think about the Ryder Cup every second I’m awake basically,” he said. “My biggest thing right now is trying not to think about it while I’m playing because it’s important to me.”

Bradley, who hasn’t played in a Ryder Cup since 2014, isn’t alone in that thinking.

Lucas Glover has been thinking about playing in a Ryder Cup for the better part of 20 years, and he really had no reason to contemplate a trip to Rome just a few months ago when the biggest struggle was keeping a PGA Tour card.

But then he made a desperate switch to a long putter to cure the yips. And then he won the Wyndham Championship to secure his card and spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs. And then he won for the second week in a row at the first playoff event. And now there are two opportunities in front of him that he wouldn’t have imagined in June.

He is No. 4 in the FedEx Cup, meaning he has a real shot at the $18 million bonus that will be decided next week in Atlanta. The FedEx Cup champion also gets a five-year exemption. He is No. 16 in the Ryder Cup standings — a third straight win might get him on the team, another top finish would make him hard to ignore as a captain’s pick.

Which would be the greater perk?

“I’ll say the Ryder Cup as a potential perk,” Glover said. “That was a goal from the day I turned pro back in 2001. And we didn’t have the FedEx Cup then. I would probably have to say that.”

Like everything else, it all starts with good golf. And now is as good a time as any for the 50 players at Olympia Fields to start playing their best.

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