Fowler, Kuchar, Holmes picked for USA Ryder Cup team
September 12, 2016
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- September 12, 2016
- Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes were named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team Monday.
United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III made his first three captain's picks on Monday, adding J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar to the team that hopes to end Europe's winning streak.
Each of the three has prior Ryder Cup experience, with Holmes making the team for the second time. His only previous appearance was in 2008 at Valhalla -- the last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup.
Kuchar will make his fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance, and Fowler is playing for the third time -- but his first on American soil.
Love said he and vice-captains Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Tom Lehman were in contact Sunday as the final round of the BMW Championship concluded. Love also consulted the American players who had made the team on points.
"It was a very, very tough decision," Love said, "but we kept coming back to these three."
Love now has one more pick to make following the TOUR Championship. He plans to make the announcement Sunday night, Sept. 25, after completion of the FedExCup Playoff Finale.
One of those players still under consideration is Bubba Watson, who's ranked seventh in the world and is the highest-ranked American player in Ryder Cup points who did not automatically qualify. Watson will be among the 30 players competing at East Lake.
Watson and Furyk are the only Americans ranked inside the top 30 in the world who are not already on the playing roster. Watson has played in three Ryder Cups; Furyk in the last nine. Both also have experience in The Presidents Cup.
If Love is looking for new blood, he could choose from several players. Ryan Moore has three top-10s in his last five starts, including a win at the John Deere Classic. Daniel Berger has two top-10s in his last four starts, including a T-10 on Sunday at the BMW Championship. Justin Thomas enters the TOUR Championship ranked 12th in FedExCup points.
There are 12 Americans heading to East Lake who are not on the Ryder Cup team: Watson, Thomas, Moore, Berger, Kevin Chappell, Kevin Kisner, Gary Woodland, Kevin Na, William McGirt, Sean O'Hair, Roberto Castro and Jason Dufner.
Love said "the biggest thing I've told several players is it's not a scoring contest at THE TOUR Championship for who gets the Ryder Cup pick." He added that the decision will be made "based on what fits best for our team."
The 41st Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota, outside Minneapolis. Europe has won the last three Ryder Cups and six of the last seven.
The eight USA players who automatically qualified on points are Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson.
Watson currently is ranked ninth on that list. Holmes is 10th, Fowler 11th and Kuchar 12th.
A quick look at each of the three captain's picks:
J.B. HOLMES -- The long-hitting Holmes went 2-0-1 in his only previous Ryder Cup appearance in 2008. Comes off a tie for fourth on Sunday at the BMW Championship. His last PGA TOUR win was the 2015 Shell Houston Open.
Love on Holmes: "He's so steady. He's easy to pair. Got a lot of experience. He's consistent."
MATT KUCHAR -- Making his fourth Ryder Cup appearance, with a career record of 4-5-2. Has 10 top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, the most of any player without a win this season. Claimed the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
Love on Kuchar: "Great attitude for match play. A great partner. Like J.B., he's consistent, easy to pair."
RICKIE FOWLER -- Making his third Ryder Cup appearance, with a career record of 0-3-5. Has eight top-10 finishes on TOUR this season, including a playoff loss at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Was knocked out of the FedExCup Playoffs after finishing 59th in the BMW Championship.
Love on Fowler: "We found no weaknesses in his game. He's such a great teammate. He's really confident on the big stage ... brings a lot of intangibles."
DAVIS LOVE III ON ...
Possibility of not selecting world No. 7 Bubba Watson with the final pick: "The nice thing is, we've still got that other pick hanging out there. I've had to make the tough decisions before. We've left off the No. 9 guy in points. We've sat Tiger Woods out for the first time ever. You know, that's the captain's job is to make tough decisions. That's what I signed up for. I get to make three fun phone calls yesterday and one more fun phone call. The rest of them aren't going to be any fun. We're prepared for that. We're going to make four guys happy and eight or 10 unhappy."
Vice-captain Jim Furyk being a potential captain's pick: "He wants to play really badly. We were saying last night, I doubt that Al Geiberger practiced as much the week after his 59 as Jim Furyk practiced after his 58. The guy, he just won't let up. He works really hard on his game. He's always looking to improve. ... If he'd have played a full schedule, there is a very, very high percentage chance that he would have made the top eight. A great chance that he would have been in the top 13 in points probably. So he still has to be in the mix. ... We told him not to put his clubs away for the off-season yet."
Tiger Woods' impact as a vice-captain: "He's been amazingly involved. He's been very thoughtful in the way that he's handled the Tiger Woods factor of being an influence but also being a distraction. His openness of helping us with strategy, getting into how he prepares; that he'll pick up the phone and call Phil Mickelson and work on things; that he'll call Matt Kuchar -- I gave him a list of guys to ask who they wanted to pick and who they wanted to play with. He's just been willing to do anything we ask, just like Jim and Tom and Steve. But his role has been seems like more on strategy and more on helping us think out pairings and think out a game plan for actually playing the matches and playing the golf course."