Love said he will listen intently to the first eight players already selected before he announces three more players at Hazeltine National on September 12 and one final pick during “Sunday Night Football” on September 25.
According to USA Today, Love III has added Rickie Fowler (ranked 9th in the world), Matt Kuchar (ranked 17th) and JB Holmes (ranked 21st) to an already formidable lineup for this month’s showdown with Darren Clarke’s Europe. In stark contrast to the experience of team USA, Clarke’s European side contains no less than six Ryder Cup rookies.
“Experience is good. We know what to expect”.
And Love, who was also captain of the U.S. team at Medinah in 2012, seemed to add further fuel to the flames in suggesting that his final pick would be based “statistically” and “emotionally” and also in learning from “mistakes of the past”. We’ve been there, we’re going to learn from our mistakes in the past and build on it. Love III has one remaining captain’s pick to complete the team.
“There’s going to be a lot of stats and a lot of things to look at, but making our pairings, fitting in with the team, doing all the little things that you asked to do … these three guys [Fowler, Kuchar and Holmes] filled incredible roles, a lot of different roles”.
Fowler has not won a Ryder Cup match in eight attempts, halving three and losing five, and has a much worse record than Watson, who has won three and lost eight matches, so Love must have a plan for him.
“I am not trying to peak for the Ryder Cup”, he said.
Eight times the Americans have fallen to Europe in 10 Ryder Cup matches dating back to 1995, and they have hit rock bottom after three successive defeats in Celtic Manor (2010), Medinah (2012) and Gleneagles (2014). In that Ryder Cup Holmes went 2-0-1. Danny Willett will play his first Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, and he has a Green Jacket in his locker! “So just really excited to get back in The Ryder Cup format and get out there and play”.
“It’s been one of my main goals all year to get on this team, and to get that call from Davis was just a very exciting moment”.
After the last capitulation to the Euros, at Gleneagles in Scotland two years ago, the United States launched a task force – and, yes, Fowler’s on it – to pick over the bones of all those losses and find a way to win. Captain Tom Watson, whose brand of leadership prompted the player upheaval that led to the Ryder Cup task forced and Love getting a second chance at the helm, skipped over the first, second and third players to miss out on automatic qualifying.
Now that Fowler is confirmed, I expect Love will pick Watson for the last place, with Jim Furyk the only obvious alternative, unless someone comes from nowhere in the next fortnight.