by Jeff Skinner
Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson ended the suspense this evening and named his three Captain’s picks to fill out the American Ryder Cup Team. With much fanfare and speaking from the Saturday Night Live set in New York City Watson named Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson to join his team as they try to win back the cup in Gleneagles Scotland.
The Americans are without the services of Tiger Woods (injury) Dustin Johnson (hiatus) and Jason Dufner (injury) and are looking to win the Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time since 1993 at The Belfry. The captain then was Watson and he has been given the difficult task of beating a team that has won five of the last six matches.
The nine members who made the team on points are Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.
Bradley had made some points for himself when he played with Watson earlier this season at Gleneagles and has been dubbed the “emotional heart” of the team. He finished 13th on the points list and seemed to be a consensus pick.
Hunter Mahan finished well down the points list at 25th but his recent win at The Barclays propelled him high up on Watson’s list.
Webb Simpson was also a bit down the points list at 15th and his play recently has been feast or famine: MC, T5, MC, T9. But Watson played with Simpson at The Greenbrier Classic and must have liked what he saw.
The three other names that were very much in consideration for selection were Ryan Moore, Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk.
Kirk just won the Deutsche Bank Championship to make his statement before Captain Watson. Kirk finished ahead of both Mahan and Simpson at 14th on the points list.
Brendon Todd was thought to be a contender for the team as he was 12th on the points list, ahead of all three captain’s picks but his play has faltered the past month.
If Ryan Moore is disappointed that he missed out on the cup we can understand. With Dufner out, he was the next player on the points list but lackluster play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs may have cost him a slot on the team.
All three of Watson’s picks can certainly be justified. But it was obvious that Watson valued experience over everything else. Each of Watson’s picks has former Ryder Cup experience and Moore, Todd and Kirk had none.
Watson already had three rookies on his team in Reed, Spieth and Walker and wanted players that had been there before.
Captain Tom went with experience instead of going off the board and taking a chance on some new blood. We’ll get to see if his formula works when pay starts on Friday, September 26th.