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Does Stewart Cink have shot at Ryder Cup team?

Stewart Cink wins 2021 RBC Heritage
Stewart Cink wins the RBC Heritage title on Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C., for his 2nd victory of the PGA Tour season and a long-shot chance at a return to the Ryder Cup.

With his 2nd victory of PGA Tour season, 47-year-old American thrusts himself into long-shot consideration for U.S. team this fall

For those U.S. golf fans wondering whether Stewart Cink might have a shot at making the U.S. Ryder Cup team, the answer is “yes” … “but.”

Cink won the RBC Heritage on Sunday for his second victory of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, after he claimed the Safeway Open title in September. After having gone winless for 11 seasons, dating to his 2009 British Open playoff victory against Tom Watson, Cink, one month shy of his 48th birthday, is back among the world’s elite golfers.

Whether that might translate into a return to the U.S. Ryder Cup team after more than a decade’s absence is another matter entirely. Yes, Cink has a shot at making the U.S. team that will welcome the Europeans on Sept. 23-26 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. But he’s got a lot of work in the next four months.

With his victory at Harbour Town, Cink jumped 13 spots, to No. 24 in the standings. That’s still a long way from the top-six automatic qualifiers and even the second six who would merit strong consideration to be at-large selections and round out captain Steve Stricker’s 12-man team. (The top 23 spots remained unchanged after the RBC Heritage. For the updated standings, click here.)

Cink has appeared in five Ryder Cups for the Americans and compiled a 5-7-7 record during a stretch (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010) when the Americans went 1-4 as a team. If he were to make the 12-man squad, Cink would be only the second U.S. player to go more than a decade between teams. Mark Calcavecchia followed a 1991 appearance with a 2002 berth.

For a look at how players will qualify for the team, click here.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PGA of America postponed the 2020 Ryder Cup until 2021. The U.S. leads the biennial series, 26-14-2, though Europe has dominated in the 21st century, winning seven of the past nine matches.

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