Although the Deutsche Bank Championship is underway at TPC Boston, and everyone is focused on the $10 Million dollar pot of gold at the end of the FedEx Cup rainbow, some folks from both sides of the big pond have their mind on Ryder Cup details. Captain’s Tom Watson, and Paul McGinnley will be making their picks next week, and I have to say, it’s a close race for both.
Tom Watson said early on, after his appointment to the 2014 Ryder Cup team that by giving away one of his picks, the focus would be on players making the team on good play. Now that the first nine players are settled for Team USA, it’s all up to who Captain Tom thinks is playing the best right now.
I had offered my suggestions last week, but I may be having a change of heart. I was convinced that Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, and Steve Stricker were the no-brainer selections, but the Barclays and the first round of the Deutsche Bank have me second-guessing my stance.
Based on his win at Ridgewood last week, you have to bring Hunter Mahan back in the conversation even though he had a less than stellar first round at TPC Boston on the Friday start.
Mahan fired a two over par 73 in the first round, and unless he turns up the heat on Saturday, may well miss the cut at The Deutsche Bank. All of a sudden, he is not exactly a lock for Captain Tom.
I’m pretty sure that Keegan Bradley is a lock for the first pick, he confirmed my stance with a nice opening round six under 65. Webb Simpson becomes the man of mystery, and the 2012 US Open Champ answered the bell on Friday, one shot back of Bradley and got into the clubhouse with a five under 66.
I’m starting to think maybe Brandt Snedeker looked good for a couple of rounds, but it’s just not his year. Capt. Tom has said he want’s players who are still stinging from the Sunday meltdown at Medinah, but with an opening one over 72 on Friday, and at five over at this writing, Brandt Snedeker needs to get healthy and wait for 2016.
Let’s throw a curve in here! If Ryan Palmer hangs on for a win at TPC Boston, does he move into the picture? Ranked 18th in Ryder Cup points, I think he gets a look from Captain Tom. Be interested in hearing your opinion.
Palmer is a bomber of the golf ball, and would make an interesting partner for one of the shorter hitters already on the team like maybe a Zach Johnson.
All though Team Europe has their focus on the Italian Open this week, and the play of Steven Gallacher, Captain McGinnley has his eyes on the Deutsche Bank Championship as well.
Team Europe is not set on nine players at this point. If Gallacher finishes in third place or worse, Grahame McDowell becomes the ninth, and final play-in team member.
With three rounds in the books in Torino, Italy, Gallacher is four shots behind fellow Scot, Ritchie Ramsey for that second spot. He is currently in sixth place, and probably doesn’t stand a chance of catching South African, Hennie Otto for the win.
Although I think Gallacher is a lock for the tenth slot, a couple of Euro’s are in the field at TPC Boston, and still have Ryder Cup hopes.
Ian Poulter is one of Team Europe’s better players, and arguably the spark plug that sparked the Sunday Meltdown in 2012 and is playing well in Boston. Poulter fired a first round 67, and at four under par, only three shots out of the lead. Poulter tees off this afternoon and we should have a better picture on Monday afternoon.
Luke Donald has Ryder Cup hopes as well, and is playing well in Boston. He is at two under par after the first round, and also tees off this afternoon.
Unlike Colin Montgomerie, I think Poulter is a strong pick for Captain McGinnley. He provides inspiration, but is arguably Europe’s best clutch putter, and one of their best match-play contestants. Donald is working on his new swing, and probably is not one of Europe’s twelve best players right now.