Meet the US Ryder Cup team: Tiger Woods as vice captain, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and more
• Also: Rory McIlroy to Thomas Pieters – Meet the 12 men of Europe’s 2016 Ryder Cup team
CHASKA, UNITED STATES // Penpics for the 2016 United States Ryder Cup team (one captain’s pick yet to be made).
Davis Love III
Played on six US Ryder Cup teams, won the trophy in 1992 debut and 1999, lost in 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2004. Served as captain in 2012 when Europe made the greatest last-day comeback in Ryder Cup history to win 14 1/2-13 1/2 in the “Miracle at Medinah”. Love, 52, won the 1997 PGA Championship and 20 other US PGA Tour events, the most recent last year at Greensboro to become the third-oldest tournament winner in PGA history.
Assistant captains: Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods.
Fowler, 27, is winless in Ryder Cup play, an 0-4-4 overall mark from 2010 and 2014 including 0-2 in singles and three halved in four-ball. In 2014, Fowler finished in the top five in all four majors but didn’t win any, settling for second at the British and US Opens. He won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier this year.
The 34-year-old captain’s pick produced his best major finishes in 26 career starts this year by placing third at the British Open and sharing fourth at the Masters. His only prior Ryder Cup came in 2008 at Valhalla in his home state of Kentucky, where he won in singles and won and halved in four-balls. Underwent brain surgery in 2011 to deal with vertigo.
Johnson, 32, won his first major title last June at the US Open and added wins at the WGC at Firestone in July and earlier this month at the US PGA play-offs BMW Championship. He took half of 2014 off to deal with personal challenges but has become the first player since Tiger Woods to win at least once in each of his first seven US PGA seasons after college. The long hitter is 4-3 in Ryder Cup play, 2-0 in singles, from 2010 and 2012.
The 40-year-old veteran of four Ryder Cups is 6-6 with 2 halved overall. But he has never played for a winning US side, losing in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Known as a grinder, he won the 2007 Masters and then captured the 2015 British Open in a play-off for the most recent of his 12 career US PGA victories.
The 26-year-old Ryder Cup newcomer matched his best major result with a share of fourth at the PGA Championship in July. Won the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour and added the 2015 US PGA Phoenix Open.
Kuchar, another captain’s pick, is among five players back from the 2012 US squad that lost in the “Miracle at Medinah”, when he was also a Love captain’s choice. He is 4-5 with 2 halved in his three trophy-less Ryder Cup starts, including 2-1 with 2 halved in four-ball. Last win came at Fiji last October. Won 2012 Players Championship, 2013 Memorial and most recently at 2014 Heritage.
No US player has been in more Ryder Cups than the 46-year-old left-hander, who makes his 11th consecutive appearance in a run that began in 1995. That matches the Ryder Cup record established by England’s Nick Faldo for Europe. But Mickelson has only hoisted the trophy twice. He is 16-19 with 7 halved in Ryder Cup play, his best discipline a 5-5 with one halved mark in singles. Won the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters, the 2005 PGA Championship and 2013 British Open but has not completed the career Grand Slam, finishing second at the US Open a record six times. He was second to Swede Henrik Stenson at this year’s British Open, giving him four runner-up efforts at four different majors over four years.
The 26-year-old Texan went 3-0 with 1 halved at Gleneagles in 2014 and won respect with his “shhh” motion to the European crowd after sinking a big putt. Won last month’s Barclays to open the US PGA season-ending play-offs to ensure his spot on this year’s team.
Snedeker, 35, hopes to avenge the 2012 Medinah loss in his only prior Ryder Cup. Went 1-1 in foursomes but his 5-and-3 loss to Paul Lawrie was the most lopsided defeat suffered by the Americans in their woeful singles showing. Won his eighth US PGA title last February at Torrey Pines.
Spieth, 23, went 2-1-1 in 2014 at Gleneagles in his Ryder Cup debut and followed in 2015 by winning the Masters and US Open, sharing fourth at the British Open and finishing second at the PGA Championship. Led Sunday on the back nine at the Masters last April before two poor holes dropped him back and helped hand Danny Willett the title, Spieth literally and figuratively placing the green jacket on the Englishman’s shoulders. Expect extra emotion if he is matched against Willett.
Walker, 37, won his first major title at the PGA Championship two months ago for his sixth US PGA Tour title. In 2014, he paired with Rickie Fowler in foursomes and four-balls for the first four matches at Gleneagles in his Ryder Cup debut, halving three. He beat Lee Westwood 3 and 2 in singles after the trophy was decided.
Final captain’s pick
Love will make the final selection after the Tour Championship concludes the US PGA Tour play-offs. Don’t expect Tiger Woods to get a last-second call. He hasn’t teed off in a top-flight event in more than a year even though he plans to return two weeks after the Cup. But Bubba Watson and assistant captain Jim Furyk took part in a practice with five Cup players last weekend at Hazeltine.
Furyk, 46, has played in the past nine Ryder Cups, twice on trophy winners, and produced 12 points in 34 matches. Watson, 37, is 3-8 in three cups, 0-3 in 2014. He lost to Luke Donald 2 and 1 in the first singles match on the final day in 2012 while Furyk lost 1-up to Sergio Garcia.
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Published: September 25, 2016 04:00 AM