Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Davis Love delays final wild-card Ryder Cup pick

One-time PGA champion Rich Beem, now a golf columnist and commentar, says he was surprised to see J B Holmes picked ahead of Bubba Watson for the Ryder Cup, and feels the US team would benefit from having an "injection of youth" at Hazeltine National.
"I thought two of Davis Love's picks were fairly predictable. Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar had been talked about a lot, but the selection of J B Holmes was a surprise, even though he was really close to qualifying automatically.
"He had a good tournament at the BMW but then really struggled on the Sunday, and I wasn't sure if that would affect the captain's thought process. But obviously it didn't. It probably came down to either J B or Bubba, and Holmes got the vote.
"Captain Love still has one more pick to go, and I think he's just waiting to see if any of the young guys can break out at the Tour Championship next week. If Justin Thomas or Daniel Berger can win in Atlanta, then I would think Davis will pick them instead.
"But he's just biding his time. I think Bubba is squarely in his sights, but he's waiting to see if anyone else shows up at the Tour Championship and does something extraordinary.
"Right now, I would go with Daniel Berger. He's got a really solid golf swing and he's impressive from tee to green. Daniel also has a kind of swagger about him which I really like, and I think he will be a strong player for the US for many years to come.
"I'd like to see him getting thrown into the mix on home soil rather than waiting two years and making his Ryder Cup debut in France. It would be great if Captain Love could go "outside the box" and pick somebody different, and Daniel Berger would be a great asset.
"Jim Furyk is another contender and he would bring a lot of experience to the team, but I think he would be better off using that experience as a vice-captain instead of having his clubs in tow. I think the US team would be better off with a younger player who can learn much from the likes of Furyk, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. They would be the ideal mentors for any rookies on the Ryder Cup team.
"Europe have six rookies on their team for Hazeltine, but I don't think that's as much of a hindrance as some people are suggesting it will be. It will be great for Darren Clarke, and I wish the American team could have that injection of youth because we have so many great up-and-coming players.
"The US keep throwing out the old guard and they have not been getting it done, so I would have liked to have seen Davis put out some younger stars.
"So I don't think Europe will be hurt in any way by having so many rookies. If anything, they will be more motivated, and look at the strength of the first-timers. Danny Willett will play his first Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, and he has a Green Jacket in his locker! I think all six of them will be just fine on the biggest stage in golf.
"Before we get to the Ryder Cup, there's the small matter of a $10m bonus for winning the FedExCup, Dustin Johnson now tops the standings after a great performance at Crooked Stick, and I expect him to wrap up the FedExCup title at the Tour Championship.
"DJ is firing on all cylinders right now, and he can still annihilate a golf course even when he's having an "off-week" with his mid-irons, which he talked about last week.
"He's driving the ball so well, and his confidence is very high. That was evident on the 72nd hole at Crooked Stick - he had a three-shot lead and could have hit two-iron and bailed out left with water down the right. But he pulled driver and crushed a big high cut to the right-centre fairway and just wedged it in from there. That told me the guy definitely has it all working right now.
"Rory McIlroy dropped out of the top five of the standings after a quiet week at the BMW, but I like his chances at the Tour Championship and having a week off will definitely help him.
"He obviously did great things at the Deutsche Bank and then went back to a course he had won on before, but he didn't play to his usual standards and that will feel a foul taste. He'll spend his week off wisely and will probably have time with his new putting coach and try and dial it in for next week.
"Rory will also want to be in great shape for the Ryder Cup, and he is the one player on the European team who is capable of completely destroying Hazeltine National. And I expect him to be "lights out" with his putting there."



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