Davis Love III picks final four members of 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team
The 12 members of the American Ryder Cup team were announced as wild-card picks by first-time captain Davis Love III on Tuesday and there were no surprises as he picked Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, one of four Ryder Cup rookies who will be playing in a team competition for the first time as a pro.
In an announcement at the NASDAQ market site in New York’s Times Square, Love picked three players – Furyk (7), Johnson (1) and Stricker (2) – who have competed in a total of 10 U.S. Ryder Cups against the Europeans. Furyk and Stricker have experienced victory and defeat, having played in the past two cups, a U.S. loss in Wales in 2010 and a victory at Valhalla in 2008. The combined record of Furyk, Johnson and Stricker in Ryder Cup competition is 12-20-7.
Johnson and Snedeker played their way onto the team over the last two weeks. They were the only Americans to finish among the top six in both FedEx Cup playoff events, a performance that was difficult for Love to ignore.
Snedeker, 31, has never played on a Ryder or Presidents cup team and was not believed to be on the initial short list that included Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Furyk and Stricker. But Snedeker, who ranks first on Tour in the strokes gained-putting category, has had a strong run in the past three weeks – T-28 at the Wyndham Championship, second at The Barclays and sixth at last week’s Deutsche Bank. Stricker is a great putter and good partner for Tiger Woods. Furyk is a captain’s pick for the first time in 15 Ryder Cup or President Cup matches.
Mahan seemed like a lock earlier this year, winning the Accenture Match Play and following that up with a win at the Shell Houston Open six weeks later. However, he has been off of late. A second round 80 at the PGA Championship to miss the cut, followed up by a 73-74 missed cut at the Barclays left Mahan on the outside looking in. Fowler also has struggled of late.
The Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at Medinah outside Chicago. Even though Europe has dominated this competition since 1995 — it has won six of the last eight times — it has won on U.S. soil only twice in the last 20 years.
The Ryder Cup has never looked stronger on paper. It will feature 24 of the top 36 players in the world ranking, and the Americans have 10 players from the top 20. The U.S. could have been even stronger in the world ranking, except that Love left out Hunter Mahan, a two-time winner this year who is No. 19.
Previously, Team Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal had chosen Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium and England’s Ian Poulter as his wild-card selections. Colsaerts will be the only Ryder Cup rookie on the European side.