FARMINGDALE, N.Y. —  Rickie Fowler lost his grip on the title late on Sunday in The Barclays at rugged Bethpage Black.

He also let slip out of his hands an automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Fowler needed a solo third or better to bump Zach Johnson out of the automatic eight and was neck-and-neck with Patrick Reed at the top of the leaderboard for most of the sun-splashed day. But Fowler, who went 55 holes without making a bogey, made three bogeys and a double bogey in his last eight holes to drop down the leaderboard and out of the top 8 for the Ryder Cup. He finished with a 74 and in a tie for seventh, three shots behind the winning Reed.

That meant Zach Johnson remained in the top 8 for the U.S. squad and is joined by Reed, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.

That leaves Fowler on the outside and now playing for one of Davis Love III’s four captain’s picks, along with leading contenders Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes and Jim Furyk. An outsider could make things interesting in the final three events of the playoffs, too.

Love will make three of his four captain’s picks after the BMW Championship on Sept. 12. He’ll make his final pick Sept. 25 during halftime of the Chicago Bears-Dallas Cowboys game the night of the final round of The Tour Championship.

European captain Darren Clarke will finalize his team Tuesday by making his three captain’s selections.

Fowler, while dejected, has good vibes heading north as he’ll defend his title next week in the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston.

“It’s not for me to worry about right now,” Fowler said about being a captain’s pick. “I’ve just got to go out and get ready to play next week. Coming off a win there last year, I feel like I’m in a good spot. I played great this week, and I’m not worried about my resumé or anything like that. I’ve just got to continue to work on the game, continue getting better.

“It was almost really good this week.”

Watson, who shot a final-round 66, his best round of the week, finished in a tie for 13th. He said he’ll let his play do the talking.

“I’ve got to keep playing. I’m six in the world. I don’t think there’s any way I can fall out of the top-10 by the time they make the picks. If he doesn’t pick me, he doesn’t pick me,” Watson said. “It’s one of those things where if you don’t play good enough, you can’t get mad at it. I can’t get mad at anything. I tried to make the team just like everybody else and I didn’t make it.

“If I don’t get picked, then I’ve got a week off. Get ready for the new season since the new season starts two weeks later.”

Follow Steve DiMeglio on Twitter @Steve_DiMeglio.


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