FedEx Cup begins at Barclays

Darren Clarke got an extra week to start mulling over his three captain's picks for Europe in the Ryder Cup because the top nine already are set. Matthew Fitzpatrick finished fifth in the Czech Masters and locked up no worse than the final spot.

Davis Love III has a little more time, and he likely will need it.

Brandt Snedeker's tie for third in the Wyndham Championship moved him up three spots to No. 6, and it would take a peculiar set of circumstances to bump him out of the top eight. The Barclays this week at Bethpage Black is the final qualifying event.

The top five already have clinched a spot on the American team - Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka. Snedeker is followed by Zach Johnson, who leads Patrick Reed at No. 8 by $157,602.

The Barclays has an $8.5 million purse, so players still can make up ground.

Even so, the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs effectively serves as a Ryder Cup qualifier for 14 players.

The winner of the Barclays gets $1.53 million. Every $1,000 counts as a Ryder Cup point, so that's 1,530 points. And that means Charley Hoffman at No. 22 is the lowest player in the standings with a mathematical chance at qualifying.

Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas, who won tournaments last fall that did not count, are among those who can't qualify.

Reed, meanwhile, is the equivalent of $30,655 ahead of J.B. Holmes, who missed the cut last week at the Wyndham Championship. Right behind Holmes are Bubba Watson, Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler.

Fowler flew from the Olympics in Rio to North Carolina to try to boost his Ryder Cup points. He tied for 22nd and now is just over $365,000 behind Reed, meaning Fowler would have to finish no worse than a two-way tie for fourth to have a mathematical chance (and that assumes Reed misses the cut).

Love won't have to make his three picks until after the third playoff event at the BMW Championship, and his fourth pick will be made immediately after the Tour Championship. So there's still time for him, and for the players.

That could make it easy for Love - or more complicated.