One week is now in the books for the remaining players trying to capture the last 4 spots on the USA Ryder Cup Team. Davis Love III will select 3 of the 4 players after this weekend’s tournament at Crooked Stick and the remaining player after the Tour Championship the following week. These extra weeks after the qualifying ended gives players the chance to compete and earn a pick by playing well and being in form come Ryder Cup time. Lets examine some players whose stock has either risen or fallen over the past few weeks. Here is a look at my top 6 players who I would put in consideration for a captains pick.
- Rickie Fowler: Rickie is one of the best golfers in the world. He is 9th in the Official World Golf Ranking and is 22nd in the FedEx Cup despite is poor form for most of the summer. After all, if it weren’t for a few bad holes at Bethpage, he would have qualified automatically. His scoring average is still sub-70 at 69.9 which ranks 11th this year. When you factor in that he is one of the most loved guys on Tour and that he can play with anyone (good pairings are crucial in the Ryder Cup), Rickie should be a lock to make the team.
- Bubba Watson: After Fowler, things start to get a little dicey. Bubba finished 9th in the Ryder Cup standings, a spot outside of automatically qualifying. He missed the cut in Boston this past week but that is the first one he has missed all year. Bubba notched a win earlier this spring in LA but only has 3 top ten’s to go along with it. The reason i would go with Bubba is to add some experience and passion to the team, both of which are critical to winning. He has played on three Ryder Cup teams in the past and he is very passionate and wears his heart on his sleeve.
- Ryan Moore: After finishing 20th in the Ryder Cup qualifying, Moore has added a T-8th finish in Boston to add to a solid resume this year. He has 8 top ten finishes and a win at the John Deere Classic. He isn’t very long but he is accurate and that could pair well with many players. He currently ranks 12th in the FedEx Cup and I think I would pick him.
- Justin Thomas: If I were deciding today, my last pick would be Justin Thomas. He is one of the games best young talents and could be the spark plug Team USA needs. He is a guy who everyone seems to get along with and who always seems to have fun. He would be a Ryder Cup Rookie but he would have plenty of experience around him as there is only one other rookie on the team currently. He ranks 14th in the FedEx Cup this year and has posted 5 top five finishes.
- Jim Furyk: He will be at Hazeltine no matter what as he is an assistant captain. He also has a chance of being a captain’s pick as well. He has been in great form as of late, including a 58 at The Traveler’s last month. The reason I went with Thomas over Furyk is the youth and freshness of Thomas. The US has beaten the European’s once since the turn of the century so clearly something has not been working. Furyk has been apart of many of those teams and I think he would be best suited focusing his mind on captaining and being a mentor for the younger guys.
- Matt Kuchar: Kuchar is a Ryder Cup veteran much like Furyk. He finished 10th in the Ryder Cup standings but he hasn’t done much this year. He ranks 28th in the FedEx Cup and ranks 17th in Official World Golf Rankings. He hasn’t notched a win in over a year. His bronze medal at the Olympics will keep him in the conversation but I don’t believe his play this year or his demeanor/style deserve a captains pick. (I love Kuchar and his demeanor and attitude is great and everyone loves him, but it doesn’t add anything special like a youthful Justin Thomas for example)
This weekend in Indiana is huge for these 6 players and many more. A win this weekend would be huge for anyone and it would be hard for Davis Love III to not give thought to that player. I will update my rankings Sunday afternoon after the BMW is over and before DL3 announces his picks.