A Look at the Eight Automatic Qualifiers for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team

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Despite the fact that Dustin Johnson faced one of the more cruel endings in the history of golf yesterday, there is an upside to his eventual fifth place finish. He’s on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Hey, I’m trying to stay positive here. But Johnson wasn’t the only one to lock up a Ryder Cup spot yesterday, as seven other plays automatically qualified for the team, with the captain’s picks from Corey Pavin coming on September 7, which will round out the team. Let’s take a look at who is on the team as of right now.

  • Phil Mickelson

There’s not much more to say about Mickelson. Despite the fact that he’s been battling an arthritis issue, he was a lock to make this team. He’s playing some of the best golf of his career this year, as he won at Augusta for the third time in his career,  but aside from that performance , hasn’t been able to turn that into more victories. His leadership and experience will be huge for this team, but consistency will be the biggest question for him heading into the event on October 1.

  • Hunter Mahan

Mahan is one of the bright young stars on tour, and with two wins on the season, he’s having a fantastic year. The most recent win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was the most impressive, as there was a very star-studded field present. Nothing seems to phase him anymore, and with that kind of maturation, he’s going to be a big asset to this team.

  • Bubba Watson

Honestly, Watson is a shot or two away from having three or four wins this season, as he’s finished in the Top 3 four times on the year. Still though, he’s proven he can win with the performance at the Travelers Championship, and he’s proved that he can step up big on a Sunday at a major (which he showed at Whistling Straits). There’s no doubt that he deserves a spot on this team, and his length off the tee will bring this team the heavy hitter that they’re looking for. Just as long as he can keep it straight.

  • Jim Furyk

I’m gonna go ahead and declare Jim Furyk the “rock” of this Ryder Cup team, as he’ll be the one that won’t get the hype and recognition, but he’ll be the one that holds everything together. Furyk isn’t known as “The Grinder” for nothing. He’s just the type of player that you need in these kind of events, and he’s already been a part of two winning U.S. teams in the past (1999 and 2008). Oh, and don’t forget that he’s bounced back nicely after a down year in 2009 to pick up two wins already this season.

  • Steve Stricker

Considering the type of red hot finish he had last season, most would probably consider this a somewhat underwhelming season for the 43-year-old. The guy has still won twice though. But injuries have caused this season to be sort of up and down for him in terms of consistency, but a performance at the Ryder Cup would be a nice way to end the season on a high note. He was undoubtedly the MVP of the U.S. Presidents Cup team last year, and perhaps another pairing with Tiger Woods (assuming that he’s picked) will bring back the magic on the course for those two.

  • Dustin Johnson

It’s a shame that Johnson’s season will be defined by one wacky situation on the 18th hole of a major championship, but it’s gonna be hard to forget that one anytime soon. Something else that shouldn’t be forgotten though is the overall season that he’s had, with a win and five Top 10’s. Perhaps more importantly, we should not forget the way that he bounced back after a final round meltdown at Pebble Beach and turned that into a chance to win the PGA Championship on Sunday. And of course, like Watson, his length off the tee makes him a big-time asset for this team.

  • Jeff Overton

I may have put the jinx on Overton when I included him as one of my sleeper picks at Whistling Straits, as he then proceeded to go out and finish at 10-over par, and finish in last place of those that made the cut. Don’t let this one bad weekend fool you though, because before this past weekend, he was arguably the hottest player on tour. He’s got six Top 10’s this season, which includes three second-place finishes. The guy is a great putter, and if he gains some confidence early, he’ll fit right in on this team. Though he’s still looking for his first-ever PGA Tour win at the age of 27, a solid performance at the Ryder Cup would certainly be a step in the right direction towards achieving that goal.

  • Matt Kuchar

Kuchar was in a great position to win his first ever major championship on Saturday, but then he saw things take a bad turn, and he could never get back to the top of the leaderboard. Still though, he’s undoubtedly having the best season of his career, and from top to bottom, has probably been one of the most consistent players on tour this season. It’s good to see him make in as an automatic qualifier, but honestly, had he not, I still think Pavin would have had to pick him. He’s been too good this year not to be on this team, and he’ll get a chance to showcase his talents at Celtic Manor in October.

Well there’s a look at the first eight on the U.S. team. We’ll discuss possible captain’s picks as we get closer to September, but for now, this is what the team looks like.

What do you think of the team thus far?

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Tags: 2010 Pga Championship Bubba Watson Celtic Manor Corey Pavin Dustin Johnson Golf Hunter Mahan Jeff Overton Jim Furyk Matt Kuchar PGA Phil Mickelson Ryder Cup Picks Ryder Cup Qualifiers Ryder Cup Team Steve Stricker U.s. Ryder Cup Team USA Golf Whistling Straits

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