NORTON, Mass. — Despite a rough two-week stretch on the PGA Tour, William McGirt enters this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship adamant about taking positive steps toward donning red, white and blue at Hazeltine Golf Club later this month.
“My goal is still to play well these next few weeks and try to make the Ryder Cup team,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “The big thing is to make another 200 points to lock up (a spot in) the Tour Championship.”
A finish inside the top 21 this week at TPC Boston ensures the Fairmont native the 200 points he needs to make it to the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time in his six seasons.
It also provides him additional time to make an impression on Davis Love III, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
After finishing 41st at The Barclays, McGirt failed to crack the top 8 in the Ryder Cup standings in the last week to earn an automatic bid.
Currently 17th in the standings, he’s still in position to make a case as Love III ponders his four captain picks. Three of those picks will be handed out after next week’s BMW Championship, with the final pick coming after the Tour Championship.
With seven top 10s this season, McGirt trails only six players — Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Kevin Na — entering the Deutsche Bank Championship.
And he’s looking get back to that consistent level over the next few weeks to earn a spot at Hazeltine.
“(I’m) hoping that I turned the corner (on Wednesday) and got my game back in order,” he said. “I didn’t play well last week, even on Sunday. I hope to get rolling this week.”
McGirt is no stranger to heroics at TPC Boston. Last season he was fighting for his playoff life, sitting outside the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings during the final round of the Deutsche Bank. Only the top 70 players in the standings advance to the third leg of the playoffs.
He arrived at the par-4 17th hole 88th in standings and walked away 68th, holing an eagle from the fairway to keep his playoff run alive. A video of that shot can be found linked to this story at www.robesonian.com.
Sitting 18th in the latest FedEx Cup standings, McGirt has locked up a spot at Crooked Stick next week, but first takes aim at TPC Boston’s par-71, 7,297-yard track starting Friday, where he finished in a tie for 12th last season and a tie for 69th in 2014.
Grouped with Hideki Matsuyama and reigning champion Rickie Fowler, McGirt tees off from the opening hole at 1:16 p.m. Friday and from the 10th tee at 8:51 a.m. Saturday.
Once 36 holes are complete, the low 70 and ties will survive the last cut of the 2015-16 season. The tournament is scheduled to end on Labor Day in a Monday finish.
“It should be a fun two days playing with Rickie and Hideki,” McGirt said.
But it’s not all business in Boston for McGirt, who makes it a point to spend time with patients from the Shriners Hospitals for Children when he’s in a city with a location.
He wasn’t able to make it to the hospital in Boston this week, but that didn’t stop him and Martin Laird from spending some time with patients.
“They brought two patients to the course and Martin and I helped both of them with putting since they each play golf,” he said. “Then we had lunch with them. It was a fun time for all of us, including Martin and myself. It’s great watching the kids have a great time.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.