Two players made significant moves toward qualifying for their first Presidents Cup over the past two weeks. CT Pan came from behind to win the RBC Heritage for his first career PGA TOUR victory, while the United States’ Ryan Palmer teamed up with Jon Rahm to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his fourth career PGA TOUR title, and first since 2010.
The wins moved Pan and Palmer to Nos 8 and 19 respectively in the International and US Team standings.
Pan is looking to become the first player from Taiwan to qualify for the Presidents Cup, which would be a momentous occasion for a country where golf has room to grow. He is doing his part to help develop the next generation of golfers in Chinese Taipei through the CT Pan Junior Championship operated by the American Junior Golf Association.
Pan was set to host 10 junior golfers from Chinese Taipei to compete against several of the United States’ top-ranked juniors in the inaugural event in Houston, but was urged by his wife, Michelle, to rather compete in the RBC Heritage and leave the hosting to her.
‘It would be my biggest honour to play under Captain Els. I definitely want to do my part to win the Presidents Cup,’ Pan said.
‘Back home in Taiwan, I mean, we don’t have a Ryder Cup in Asia. And I just feel it’s kind of unfortunate for the golf fans back home in Asia. I think the Presidents Cup will be something like that. And it will inspire more kids to play golf or inspire more people to follow golf.’
After jumping from No 31 to No 8 in the standings, Pan will look to maintain his current position through the FedExCup Playoffs in August, when the top 8 automatic qualifiers will become official following the BMW Championship.
The top 15 in the International Team standings remained stagnant following the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, with Australia’s Marc Leishman retaining the top spot in the standings for the 20th consecutive week, dating back to the Hero World Challenge (2 Dec).
Jason Day (No 6) and Adam Scott (No 11) gave Australian fans a potential prelude to a Presidents Cup pairing at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where the Aussies opened with a solid 65 in four-ball before shooting 72 in foursomes to miss the cut by one stroke.
On the US side, Palmer’s win moved him from No 40 to No 19 in the standings in his quest to earn a Presidents Cup debut.
Having competed fulltime on the PGA TOUR since 2004, the 42-year-old’s return to the winner’s circle was a long time coming after recording six runner-up finishes in total since his last victory at the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. Palmer’s game has also been trending in the right direction since the beginning of the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, with three top-10 finishes in his first eight starts.
Dustin Johnson remains at No 1 for the US Team following a week where the standings remained relatively consistent.
2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play champion Kevin Kisner continued his stellar play of late with a T5 finish with partner Scott Brown and moved up two spots to No 14.
Captain Tiger Woods remains at No 9 in the standings and is scheduled to compete in his first PGA TOUR event since his Masters triumph at the PGA Championship (16-19 May).
The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Australia, and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time, 9-15 December 2019, when the International Team led by Captain Ernie Els will take on the US Team led by Captain Tiger Woods.
Rank Player Country Points
1. Marc Leishman Australia 136.30
2. Louis Oosthuizen South Africa 130.43
3. Hideki Matsuyama Japan 111.09
4. Cameron Smith Australia 105.58
5. Haotong Li China 104.96
6. Jason Day Australia 94.90
7. Justin Harding South Africa 94.79
8. CT Pan Chinese Taipei 94.58
9. Abraham Ancer Mexico 90.49
10. Si Woo Kim Korea 78.84
11. Adam Scott Australia 77.87
12. Corey Conners Canada 75.22
13. Sungjae Im Korea 72.39
14. Jazz Janewattananond Thailand 71.32
15. Branden Grace South Africa 68.38
Rank Player Points
1. Dustin Johnson 5,667
2. Justin Thomas 5,359
3. Xander Schauffele 5,064
4. Matt Kuchar 4,939
5. Brooks Koepka 4,646
6. Bryson DeChambeau 4,471
7. Rickie Fowler 3,940
8. Tony Finau 3,664
9. Tiger Woods 3,638
10. Phil Mickelson 3,515
11. Gary Woodland 3,511
12. Patrick Cantlay 3,496
13. Webb Simpson 3,313
14. Kevin Kisner 3,106
15. Charles Howell III 3,106