Friday, September 03, 2010

And The Four US Ryder Cup Captain's Picks Are...

On Tuesday, it's Corey Pavin's turn to be second-guessed, not that the past couple months of his Ryder Cup captaincy haven't been on the turbulent side.

The whole Tiger Woods question has been silly and Pavin managed to fuel the fire whether he meant to or not. Now he has to pick four players to complete his Ryder Cup team and, no matter how justifiable the picks may be, he's going to criticized for at least some of his choices. It's the nature of the beast.

His counterpart, Colin Montgomerie, got roasted last week when he picked Edoardo Molinari, Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington because it meant he left off Paul Casey, the eighth-ranked player in the world, and Justin Rose, the 23rd-ranked player. But if he left Harrington off the team -- admittedly the three-time major champion hasn't played well in a while -- it would have provoked some criticism

Then again, whatever Monty does provokes criticism from the British press.

Pavin is getting plenty of advice so he doesn't need mine but if I were adding four players to this Ryder Cup team, here's who I'd add:

-- Tiger Woods.

He's the No. 1 player in the world. He belongs on the team.

Maybe he hasn't cared about the Ryder Cup as much as some players in the past but he'll care this time. I don't buy the notion that he'd be a distraction in the team room. I think guys want him there. If you could have Tiger Woods playing for your team, you'd take him, too.

-- Zach Johnson.

A virtual lock, I'm thinking. He's been super-steady all year. He won at Colonial, he tied for third at the PGA Championship and he's made nine straight cuts entering this week.

He can partner with a variety of different players, he's a good putter and he belongs.

-- Stewart Cink.

After a really slow start to the season, Cink has played better the past couple of months. He's had three straight top-20s coming into this week and he's among the most experienced players on Pavin's list.

With a roster that includes rookies Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, Cink brings seasoning. That will come in handy in Wales.

-- Fred Couples.

It's a long shot, for sure. But what Freddie brings goes beyond his golf, which has been outstanding this year. He brings camaraderie. He brings that Freddie vibe.

He's played a million of these team events and he captained the President's Cup team last year. if Pavin goes predictable, Couples will be playing the Champions Tour at Rock Barn the first weekend in October. If he goes unpredictable, Rock Barn's loss will be Pavin's gain.

So who does that leave out?

It leaves out Lucas Glover, who was inside the automatic qualifying line until the end. Personally, I want him to make it but he missed the cut at the PGA , withered with the lead over the final nine holes at Greensboro and missed the cut last week at The Barclays. The good news is Pavin spent two hours watching Glover play in Thursday's pro-am outside Boston and Glover was striping it.

It also omits Anthony Kim, who desperately wants to make the team and would have had he not had thumb surgery in the spring. Since returning after the PGA, Kim's game hasn't been sharp enough, which is understandable. It's really hard to leave him off but maybe Pavin take steal a page from Monty's captain's manual and add Kim as an assistant, similar to the role Sergio Garcia has on the European team this year.

Rickie Fowler will be a Ryder Cup player, just not this year. Bo Van Pelt deserves consideration. Ben Crane. Justin Leonard.

Captain Pavin has options. It's a question of which ones he chooses.


Anonymous said...

Couples can't make pressure putts anymore and his balky back makes him too much of a risk. Plus, he doesn't care enough anymore. And Kim as an assistant captain? After that drunkfest he pulled two years ago? He has no respect from the other players and it would be a travesty to give him an assistant's position solely on the basis of good play in the last Ryder Cup. Ron, I like your columns but youv'e been around tour players enough to know that you needed to put more thought into this one.

Ryan Redding said...

I agree on the Woods and Johnson picks, but I think Pavin has nothing to lose by picking Fowler and Nick Watney. For more perspective, read why at