Love’s Ryder Cup team brimming with talent

United States Ryder Cup team captain, Davis Love III has announced his last four Captain’s picks to finalise a team to challenge the Europeans from September 28 – 30 at Medinah Country Club in Chicago.

A combination of good luck and timing sees Love enter the 39th Ryder Cup with a team that is bristling with talent, experience and current form.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Love III made what were the almost ‘no brainer’ picks of veterans Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and the in-form Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, both of whom virtually picked themselves based on their form over the opening weeks of the FedEx Cup Playoff series.

The 4 picks join those who had qualified automatically following the PGA Championship at Kiawah.

The full team is:

  • Tiger Woods (7th appearance)
  • Bubba Watson (2nd appearance) 
* Jason Dufner (Debut)

  • Keegan Bradley (Debut)

  • Webb Simpson (Debut)

  • Zach Johnson (3rd appearance)

  • Matt Kuchar (2nd appearance)

  • Phil Mickelson (US record 9th appearance)
  • Steve Stricker (3rd appearance)
  • Jim Furyk (8th appearance)
  • Brandt Snedeker (Debut)
  • Dustin Johnson (2nd appearance)

Tiger Woods capped a meteoric rise on the back of a 3-win PGA Tour season by topping the automatic qualifiers, not 10 months on from when he was considered a somewhat controversial Captain’s selection for the 2011 Presidents Cup team.

Bradley, the 2011 PGA Champion, surged into automatic qualifying contention with his victory at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and secured his spot, officially and emphatically, at Kiawah with a tie for 3rd in defence of his title.

“Ryder Cup means everything,” said Bradley, who along with Dufner, Simpson and Snedeker will be making his Ryder Cup debut. “It’s going to be a real challenge for me that week to stay calm and not get too excited. It’s a great event. I can’t wait to play.”

New England-native Bradley actually attended the 1999 matches at Brookline Country Club in Boston as a spectator. “Yeah, I went to the ’99 Ryder Cup,” he said. “Greatest sporting event I’ve ever been to, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

On receiving the news of his Captain’s pick, Snedeker added “Needless to say, it’s been a couple pressure-packed weeks for me but it’s all worth it. I look forward to getting to Medinah and trying to make Davis look like a genius.”

“It means a lot,” said Masters champion Bubba Watson.

“Any time you can put the stars and stripes on your sleeve and play some golf, this is the closest I’ll get to the military, so for me it’s about representing our country and playing some golf and hopefully win it.”

“But all in all, just like the athletes in the Olympics, all you’re trying to do is represent your country well and show people some exciting golf.”

Veteran Phil Mickelson scraped in to the last automatic qualifying position with a T36 at the PGA and will be making his 9th Ryder Cup appearance, a new US record.

Love III will also be bouyed by Mickelson’s strong showing at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Mickelson’s highest finish on Tour since The Masters.

Love III had the enviable, but difficult, decision to make his final selection from a very strong cast of aspirants – including Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney who were unlucky not to be selected.

“I think we’re extremely deep this time, deeper than we’ve ever been. There were a lot of guys that played a lot of really good golf,” Love said.

“You can analyse the numbers up and down and back and forth. It was tough to leave really anybody off.”