We’re coming up on what is my favorite golf event: The Ryder Cup. Hell, I allotted two hours of my trip to Minneapolis last year to send time on-site at Hazeltine National just looking at the place.
Since I have infinite wisdom, I love thinking about who I would select for Captain’s Picks.
This will be my Pre-Barclay’s addition. I will update this each week up until the final captain’s pick is chosen right before the Ryder Cup.
Right now, the team looks like this:
- Phily Mick
- Jimmy Walker
- Brooks Koepka
- Patrick Reed
I believe 1-5 have guaranteed their places. Judging by today’s first round by Patrick Reed, his place on the team should be secure. If he somehow doesn’t make it on points, he’s a guaranteed captain’s pick for me.
So, let’s assume the top 8 won’t change by this weekend. Who do I pick?
I’m going way outside the box on this one. Going 9-12 is boring and uninspired. Let’s really overanalyze this.
First things first: As of today, Furyk and Fowler don’t make my team.
I know that ole Jim has had good form of late, but his Ryder Cup record is abysmal. I’ve been arguing for new blood on the U.S. Ryder Cup team for some time now. Experience doesn’t count for much in the fairways if that experience is mostly losing. Remember Medinah? Remember Olympic Club? That’s why I don’t want Mr. 58 on my team.
Fowler might be able to suade me with a good run over the FedEx Playoffs. Since the playoff lost at Phoenix, he’s had a pretty bad year. However, I think something might have clicked for him in Rio; or maybe it was just the “benefits” of the Olympic experience. His desire to play the Wyndham and shooting a respectable T22 shows me a guy with the fire in his belly.
Who exactly does make my team?
I want a couple guys with good match play records who’ve played decently this year. Of course, I’m talking about Ryan Moore (hereafter RyMo) and Colt Knost (hereafter Big Gravy).
Am I crazy? Probably. Readers of my site and Twitter know that I’m a big RyMo fan. In most years, I’ve made a push for him on the Ryder Cup team. I was prepared to let it go in 2016 until he won the John Deere. Look, RyMo’s not the flashiest golfer, but his amateur career is almost unparalleled. U.S. Pub Links Champ. U.S. Amateur Champ. Western Amateur. NCAA Individual. Dude has been in intense match play situations before. So what, that was a long time ago. He’s also a multi-winner on the PGA Tour, including two weeks ago. Let us not forgot he was the very first pro to use PXG equipment. Forward thinking!
Big Gravy’s another former U.S. Amateur champion. That means he has won a major match play tournament. Also not a sexy pick, but I would pair RyMo and Big Gravy in foursomes. They’re gonna find fairways and greens, and make enough birdies to keep the Euros on their toes in a format Europe usually dominates. His third place at modified stableford Barracuda may have been against a weaker field, but you have to make tons of birdies and eagles to place in stableford events. The game’s in there somewhere, also noted by his 63 at TPC Sawgrass.
But hey, you say, “Kuchar’s a former U.S. Amateur champ.” Yeah, don’t get me started on Back Door Top Ten Kuch. Nice guy. Don’t want him on my Ryder Cup team.
I also need a guy who’ll just annoy the crap out of Euros with head games. Of course, I’m talking about Kevin Na. He’s had 8 top tens this season, including two top tens in his last two events. So not only is his play currently solid, but he’s got enough quirks under pressure to make a Euro lose focus.
Finally, I need a guy who can make birdies. For this spot, I looked at birdies per round this season on the PGA Tour. Spieth and DJ top this list, but they’re already on the team. Next American: Andrew Loupe.
Really, dude? Andrew Loupe?
Look, match play is a different beast. Bogeys and pars don’t matter as much as birdies. I want a guy to play in fourball and make a ton of birdies. Not only is Loupe high in the birdie/round category, he’s also 5th in driving distance. Hazeltine National can play at over 7,600 yards. If DL3 keeps the rough low, I want Loupe bombing the ball and getting birdies. His birdie per round mark is just under 4.
There you have it. In no particular order, my Pre-Barclay’s Captain’s Picks are:
- Ryan Moore
- Colt Knost
- Kevin Na
- Andrew Loupe
Let’s see how the Barclay’s plays out, when the top 8 will be solidified. Then, let the guessing and second guessing begin!