I felt as if it was about that time to talk about the Ryder Cup again. Last time I posted about the Cup was in the beginning of August, and with the top 8 getting clinched in a matter of days, I felt as if it was fair to discuss it. Again, if you are unfamiliar with the rules of the Ryder Cup, the top 8 point (based off of money earnings) leaders automatically qualify. Then the captain, in this case Davis Love III, selects 4 additional players (3 on September 12, and 1 after the Tour Championship). It is important to emphasis that the top 8 is confirmed after the Barclays Championship, which takes place this weekend. That is why it is key to note that things may (and probably will) change in regards to the automatic qualifiers.
Let’s take a look at the top 8, at this point in time:
While the top 5 are mathematical locks, there is room for movement at the bottom end. While it is certainly possible for Brandt Snedeker to fall out of the top 8, it would seem that the more probable movement would involve Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed. In terms of the likelihood for the 6-8 crew to make the team, even without automatically qualifying, I still say it would be extremely high due to the experience of ZJ and Sneds, and the match play ability of Patrick Reed.
Now let’s examine the challengers:
Any of the golfers shown in the photo above (9-19) would join the top 8 with a win at Bethpage Black, this Sunday. Golfers such as JB Holmes, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar (Also, Fowler with a top 3), don’t need wins, but just decent finishes (Holmes could qualify by simply making the cut) to secure their spot at Hazeltine.
While we see how the top 8 shakes out on Sunday, I think the more interesting conversations revolve around potential captain’s picks. Assuming the top 8 remain what they are now, many people seem to already know who the 4 picks would be. The general consensus seems to be Watson, Fowler, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar (maybe JB Holmes). While that seems likely at this point in time, it is important to identify the fact that there are more weeks left. The “Billy Horschel Rule”, in which the last pick is made AFTER the Tour Championship was implemented to allow for the random hot player to make the team. That guy is someone who is probably not even on anybody’s radar at this point in time. However, if I am making MY captain’s picks right now, they differ from Love’s likely choices. I know that many people on the internet are strongly opposed to Furyk making the team. I completely agree. I understand that he is playing very well, has great experience/leadership, and lost out on a chance to gain points due to injury. However, he has an awful Ryder Cup record, does not fit Hazeltine at all, and may not be able to hold up after a hectic fall. Presently, my picks would be Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, and Fedex Cup Wildcard/ Bubba Watson. I think Kuchar should make it due to his great recent form, awesome intangibles, and consistency (which helps as a playing partner). While Fowler has had a very disappointing season, I think he also belongs on the squad. He is very well liked by his teammates, and has the top level scoring ability that is needed to win Ryder Cup matches. Next, Daniel Berger. DB StraitVIBIN, is exactly what this team needs. Not only has he had a tremendous (and consistent) season, but he possesses the ideal mindset and skill-set. The youngster has made the cut in all the Majors he has played, with top 10s in the Masters, and Players. He also was the Rookie of the Year last season, and had a 2nd place finish at a playoff event. Despite his surprising collapse at the Travelers, Berger has a fearless attitude, is a relentless competitor, and a MEGA talented golfer. Lastly, I reserve the spot for either a super hot player, or Bubba Watson if he can show some uptick in form throughout the Playoffs. In the end it does not matter what I say, but it is still very interesting to chat about.