AP Golf Writer
HOYLAKE, England (AP) -- The end of the British Open means the Ryder Cup is getting closer, and there are a couple of regulars still not in the team.
That starts with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
They both have two tournaments remaining before qualifying ends at the PGA Championship. The top nine earn automatic spots on the U.S. team that goes to Scotland at the end of September to try to win back the cup.
Tom Watson has three captain's picks.
Woods will have to rely on a captain's pick unless he finishes at least third at the Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. Mickelson has more realistic chance. He is the equivalent of $198,056 in earns behind Zach Johnson in the No. 9 spot, and money counts double at the PGA Championship.
The Open went a long way toward sewing up a few spots on the team. Rickie Fowler, a runner-up at Hoylake, moved up to No. 3 and locked up a spot. Jim Furyk, who closed with a 65 to finish alone in fourth, moved up to No. 4 and can expect to be at Gleneagles. Right behind him is Dustin Johnson, with Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar trailing. The top seven look pretty solid barring some really bad play, or the right combination behind them winning.
Where it gets tight is at the bottom. Only $430,275 separates Jason Dufner at No. 8 from Webb Simpson at No. 15. Of the next five players behind Zach Johnson, Mickelson is the only one with Ryder Cup experience.
In dire need of some good finishes are Keegan Bradley (No. 16), Brandt Snedeker (No. 28) and Hunter Mahan (No. 34).
Snedeker and Mahan are playing the Canadian Open this week.
AMERICAN FALL: American golfers suddenly have their work cut out for them to get back toward the top of the world ranking.
Justin Rose of England won at Congressional. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland won the British Open and Sergio Garcia of Spain was a runner-up. And just like that, there are no Americans among the top five for the first time since the end of 2011.
Adam Scott of Australia remains No. 1, with McIlroy at No. 2. Henrik Stenson (Sweden) is No. 3, followed by Rose and Garcia. That's one Aussie and four Europeans atop the world ranking. Americans do occupy five of the next six spots -- Bubba Watson is the highest-ranked American at No. 6 -- and they have 11 in the top 20.
Tiger Woods, who started the year at No. 1 before a back injury led to surgery, is all the way down to No. 9.
The top five at the end of 2011 were Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), McIlroy, Martin Kaymer (Germany) and Scott. Steve Stricker was No. 6, and then won the first event of the year at Kapalua.
IRISH EYES: Rory McIlroy had just built a six-shot lead when rain pounded the tent with such force he could hardly hear himself speak. The timing couldn't have been better. The R&A went to a two-tee start for the first time, and the third round ended 30 minutes before the storm.
"The second-best decision the R&A has ever made," McIlroy said.
The first one? Bringing The Open back to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for only the second time in history, of course.
It was a reminder of how Irish eyes are smiling.
Just think back to the last time The Open was at Royal Liverpool in 2006. There had not been an Irish major champion since Fred Daly (at Hoylake) in 1947. Since then, Europe won the Ryder Cup in Ireland. Padraig Harrington won three majors in the next two years. Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open in 2010. McIlroy won the first of his three majors the next year, and Darren Clarke won the claret jug in 2011 at Royal St. George's.
"It's the golden generation," McDowell said. "Eight major championships. It's added something to the pot. Pretty exciting times."
THE WRONG SIDE: The wind wasn't as vicious as it was for a British Open, but it was still enough to make a difference.
The wind increased noticeably Thursday afternoon and stayed that way through Friday morning. Anyone teeing off early on Thursday and late on Friday got the better end of the draw. Of the 72 players who made the cut, 45 came from the late-early side.
Adam Scott got the wrong end, so it was not surprising that the world No. 1 was the only player from the top eight at Royal Liverpool who went late-early. That's why he wasn't too down on himself when he finished five shots behind.