UPDATE 9.7.10: The official announcement has been made, and NG Nation’s Alan Numsuwan has called it right on the nose — Captain Corey Pavin chooses Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler as his captain’s picks for the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Congrats to Nike Golf athletes Tiger Woods and Stewart Cink on their selection for the team and best of luck in Wales in three weeks!
In just a few hours U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin will announce his captain’s picks for the 2010 Ryder Cup, which will beheld at Celtic Manor in Wales later this month. European Captain Colin Montgomerie has already announced his picks, which caused some controversy as he left Ryder Cup veteran and world No. 9 player Paul Casey and fellow Englishman and world No. 22 Justin Rose off the team, instead choosing Irishman Padraig Harrington, Englishman Luke Donald and Italian Edoardo Molinari as his captain’s selections.
We’ll need to see if there are any surprises or controversial picks in tomorrow’s news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST. As a lead-in to Captain Pavin’s news conference, the NG Nation staff has gotten together to offer their opinions on who he might select as his four captains picks for the 2010 U.S. Team:
The biggest challenge for the US Ryder Cup team will probably be match-ups. Kaymer, Donald, Westwood, Jiminez and F.Molinari are some of the most controlled and accurate players in the world, while McIlroy and Poulter are wildmen who will go all out. I feel that the current US Team is a little boring outside of Mahan. I’m worried about Overton and Bubba and I don’t think DJ can play under that consistent pressure, so I think Team USA needs a little fire and experience with the Captain’s picks. Here we go!
It has to be an obvious pick. I really think he’ll be the leader of the US team. This is Tiger’s chance to win everyone back. The fans, the media and his fellow tour pros will rally with Tiger and all the raw emotion, talent and gamesmanship that he contains. I think Celtic Manor will be Tiger’s playground and he should have a lot of fun.
Long shot, I know, but just a bit more time should heal him up. I don’t even think he should play in the BMW Championship so that he can get healthy. I can’t think of a better combination than Kim/Mahan to go against a Molinari or McDowell/McIlroy. I just think he needs to be there and it will hurt him if he’s not there. Sure, since injury, he’s been terrible, but all he needs is time. The game is there.
JB put up a nice T11 at the DB Championship and is having a better year than when he was on the team in 2008. He has 12 Top 25’s this year including The Open and the PGA. I don’t think of him as a long hitter anymore, but having Holmes, DJ and Bubba would be kind of scary. He’s worth a chance after not playing much in the ’08 Cup, but didn’t lose when he had the opportunity to participate.
Cink has Top 20’s in his last 4 events, which were all huge fields (WGC, PGA and 2 Playoff events) and I think he’s a lock for this team, right after Woods. Cink has been playing his way onto this team by making 10 straight cuts ( 7 Top 25’s) after MC’s at the Masters and Players. He brings experience and a camaraderie that this team needs with new faces and young guns.
Firstly, I don’t think today’s Deutsche Bank wrap-up should be considered as a Ryder Cup qualifier. Let’s all remember that this is a 2-year selection process and while I agree that it’s great to be playing hot going into the Ryder Cup, its consistency, intangibles, and proof that I think will be deciding factors. Here’s my four:
Overall, I really like Zach as one of my captain picks. He finished 2009 ranked 6th in the FedEx Cup standings with two wins, and a second and a third place finish, along with nine Top 10s. This year he won at the Crowne Plaza at Colonial and finished 3rd at The PGA Championship and I think he’d be a good teammate with Phil, Bubba, or Kuchar. Zach also hasn’t played a Ryder Cup since 2006 when the U.S. got trampled, so I’m sure a shot at redemption will give Zach some extra drive to succeed.
All drama aside, TW is probably still the most skilled golfer and I think he is still one of the most intensely competitive people out there. If he can succeed at The Ryder Cup it could be a resurgence for the TW era in golf. Plus, Tiger will be able to team up with Steve Stricker again, and I also think he’d match up well with Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson. If his mind is right, he’s deadly at singles.
This one comes down to experience. This would be Cink’s fifth Ryder Cup appearance and I know he hasn’t had a stellar 2010 (only 3 Top 10s), but he does have last year’s President’s Cup victory, along with his British Open major. I also like Cink with Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, and a mentor to Jeff Overton. I’m also encouraged with adding Cink to the team after reading a quote of his from Golf Digest where he said when you’re in a position to win, you have to step on the competition’s throats. I like that attitude representing the U.S.
I know, it will be tough to bring on a fifth Ryder Cup rookie, but I’ve seen Rickie in action this year and he really can put it together. I am most impressed by his Walker Cup domination where went 7-1 over two stints. I also like the tandem of Bubba Watson and Fowler, but can see him succeeding with fellow OSU Cowboy Hunter Mahan, as well as fellow Californian Phil Mickelson.
The new Ryder Cup selection process puts more weight on performance in the Ryder Cup year (especially in the majors), gives the U.S captain four picks instead of the two allowed prior to 2008, and allows the U.S. Captain a few extra weeks after the PGA Championship to announce his picks. If you want to read a great book about the new selection process and 2008 Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger’s winning strategy and implementation of his pod system, read Azinger’s book “Cracking the Code”. That being said, Captain Pavin still has a tough choice ahead of him. I’m taking a risk here, but I’m going all Nike Golf in my picks — here’s who I think he should choose and why:
For Tiger’s star power, audience appeal and for the TV ratings alone, Pavin can’t leave him off the team. However, looking at his recent performance and Ryder Cup record doesn’t give any particular on-paper reasons to choose him. But if you take into consideration his match play experience, the Tiger intimidation factor, his presence in the locker room, plus recent swing changes which have shown flashes of the old Tiger brilliance of late (and three weeks to further dial in those changes), Tiger is a force that needs to be part of the 2010 U.S. Team.
I agree with Damian and Alan on this pick — Stewart’s steady play in the last month combined with his Ryder Cup experience make him an almost certain pick for the 2010 U.S. Team. His calm demeanor and major championship success is a perfect balance for younger, less experienced players on the team including Ryder Cup rookies Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar.
Although Anthony’s Kim’s recovery from recent thumb surgery has shown slow but steady progress, he’s still No. 9 on the Ryder Cup points list and with three more weeks to get his game in shape Anthony needs serious consideration for the U.S. Team. Rickie Fowler’s name has come up as a potential captain’s pick, but for the choice of a young gun for the 2010 U.S. Team, one only needs to look to Kim’s dominating performance in the 2008 matches, especially his 5&4 Sunday singles trouncing of Sergio Garcia in the opening match. For competitive fire, determination, guts and pure confidence, Anthony Kim is the choice.
Lucas is still 10th in Ryder Cup points, and although his recent performance has been lacking, I still feel he deserves a look for the 2010 U.S. Team. Even though today he played himself out of the field for the BMW Championship and the rest of the playoffs (as did Team Europe’s Padraig Harrington), this gives him the opportunity to get his game and mind in shape for match play and the unparalleled pressure the Ryder Cup is known for. The 2009 U.S. Open Champion had a good showing at The Wyndham Championship, and his experience, inner competitive fire and calm outward demeanor could be just the right balance for the Team U.S. locker room.
We only have to wait a few hours to see how accurate the three of us are, and who is most on target with their picks. Stay tuned for more in our series of NG Nation Staff Picks: A FedEx Cup “Halftime” Edition and Ryder Cup Edition are soon to follow.