The best thing that happened this week for 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, was Tiger Woods withdrawing from any consideration for the 2014 team. Everyone has said the right things considering Tiger, but let’s face it, with his health issues, and the rust on his golf game, the only thing he would bring to Gleneagles is a distraction from bringing the Cup home.
Tom Watson will have his hands full in the next three weeks in an attempt to add three more players that he can take to battle in Scotland. Of the nine players he picks up through play-in qualification, only two are playing exceptionally well right now, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.
Bubba Watson could be a huge asset if when he goes to Gleneagles, he likes the golf course and embraces the challenges that playing golf in that part of the world can bring during this time of the year.
We have all seen Bubba show up for important tournaments, and go through the motions when he doesn’t like the course, often missing the cut and going home. Tom Watson and his assistant Captains will need Bubba, and need for him to commit to the team.
Team USA and Tom Watson absolutely need Keegan Bradley. We all saw what kind of enthusiasm the 28 year-old Bradley brought to Medinah in 2012. He played most of his matches with Phil Mickelson and is a must for the 2014 team.
Bradley is 18th in Ryder Cup standings, but other than not making the cut at Valhalla last week, has had a pretty good summer. Especially after he went back to his regular sized putter.
With a 303 yard average off the tee, and accuracy numbers, along with Greens in Regulation numbers above 60% for the year, the only thing Bradley needs is to be paired with someone who can putt.
He would be an excellent choice to pair with a guy like Zach Johnson who has all the tools to score with, and needs a partner who can bomb the ball off the tee.
With T4′s at the US Open, The Greenbrier and the Bridgestone to go along with a T19 at Royal Liverpool, Bradley plays well in big events against strong fields. The youngster from Woodstock needs to be on the 2014 Ryder Cup Team!
Brandt Snedeker hasn’t been the same since his rib injury in the California desert last year at the Humana Challenge, but as a member of the 2012 meltdown at Medinah, I’m sure he would like another bite at the apple. Sneds doesn’t have a major on his resume, but if healthy, can be a real asset to this Ryder Cup team.
With one of his two top ten finishes in 2014 coming at the US Open in Pinehurst, we know Snedeker can play the tough venues. With a drive that averages just over 280 yards, and his ability to get hot with a putter makes the 2012 FedEx Cup Champ another must-pick for Captain Tom and the 2014 Ryder Cup Team.
I think the 2014 Ryder Cup Team has a daunting task when they go to Gleneagles this year. They will be facing one of the toughest Euro teams in many years on a tough venue, and to have any chance, they need Steve Stricker in the lineup.
As with any golf tournaments, being able to drive the golf ball is important, but winning is done on the greens with the flat stick. Steve Stricker is arguably one of the best putters on the tour. That’s why Tiger Woods get tips from him.
I had felt for some time after our loss at Medinah that Steve Stricker, and Jim Furyk let the team down. Neither could make a putt that mattered for the entire match, and not just on Sunday during the singles matches.
In reality, Stricker had not played well all year in 2012, and more importantly, had not putted well. When he lost the John Deere Classic, a tournament he had won three consecutive times, he looked tired and disinterested. That disconnection showed up at Medinah, and I remember questioning him as one of Captain Davis Love’s picks.
Age caught up with Steve Stricker in 2012, and his answer to that problem was take more time off. He is rested, has played pretty well in 2014, and needs to be on this team as a player, not an assistant captain.
Stastistic source: PGATour.com