Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fowler A Ryder Cup Risk -- But Worth It

Captain Corey Pavin said he went with a gut feeling in naming 21-year old Rickie Fowler to the U.S. Ryder Cup team, the most surprising of his four captain’s picks announced Tuesday.

He picked Fowler over Lucas Glover, Anthony Kim, Ben Crane, Ryan Palmer, Charley Hoffman and who knows how many others for the final spot on the squad. That’s assuming that Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson were virtual automatics.

By the way, did anyone seriously think Charley Hoffman was going to make the team based on one great putting Sunday?

The Fowler pick is a risk. He still hasn’t won on the PGA Tour and when he’s been in contention – most notably the Waste Management Phoenix Open – he played it safe which seems contrary to his style.

But it's a risk worth taking.

Pavin now has two players – Jeff Overton is the other – who have never won a PGA Tour event. Is that a big deal? Only if the U.S. loses in which case everything is a big deal.

Fowler has been making cuts but no noise since his second-place finish in The Memorial more than three months ago. However, Fowler had a 7-1 career record in the Walker Cup, which speaks to his knack for match play.

Fowler gives Pavin five rookies on his team but that may not be a huge issue considering the European team has six rookies.

I can see Pavin pairing Fowler with Phil Mickelson in much the same way Paul Azinger put Kim and Mickelson together two years ago. Other than risking a charisma overload, it would give Fowler a Ryder Cup veteran alongside in Wales.

Others have suggested Mickelson with Dustin Johnson. Not bad, either.

It's a fresh canvas for Pavin, considering how different this Ryder Cup roster is from the last one. Only one pairing at Valhalla -- Mickelson and Hunter Mahan were together in the Saturday afternoon four-ball match -- can be dupllicated at Celtic Manor.

Unless Pavin just likes to be contrary, he'll put Tiger with Steve Stricker because both of them like it that way and they laid waste to the International team together in the Presidents Cup.

Would Pavin dare put Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson together for one match? Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson are ideal complements to the newcomers.

This is likely the first of many Ryder Cup teams of which Fowler will be a part. If he can handle wearing the team uniforms, he can handle the golf.

A month ago, the European team looked like an overwhelming favorite. Not anymore.


Anonymous said...

A Ryder Cup logo on one of those stupid hats....I sure hope not