The Grateful Golfer discusses the wildcard picks for both the European and US teams ahead of this year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
The die has been cast! Both Ryder Cup Captains have chosen the last three players to complete their team. There is little question that these three picks are extremely important, but more so for the US team.
The European Captain, Paul McGinley, chose Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Stephen Gallacher to close out his selections.
Poulter and Westwood are strong players who always perform well at the Ryder Cup. Their energy, focus and clutch play-making virtually ensured their place on the team. Galla her is playing extremely well right now and provides a home field advantage that no other player brings to the European team.
Selecting these three players was very difficult and other great players were left out in the cold. The most obvious player not to be selected was Luke Donald.
His record at the previous Ryder Cups is unmatched. He is a proven performer, except this year his play on the links can be rated as suspect at best. Although he is a great player, Donald is on a downswing with his performance. Therefore, Captain McGinley made the tough decision and went with the team he felt would bring home the Ryder Cup.
The US Captain, Tom Watson, chose Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, and Webb Simpson. His choices were more dramatic because of the ailing US team. With no Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson or Jason Dufner, the US team is missing a bit of star power.
Watson chose players who have been to the Ryder Cup before and are playing very well at this time. His selections make sense given the depleted US team and yet it is possible he left out that “je ne sais quoi”.
Except for Bradley, the other two selectees appear to be quiet and reserved on the golf course. Given the hype of the Ryder Cup, Watson may prove to be a genius with his selections, but only time will tell.
Over the next few weeks, both the European and US Ryder Cup teams will be analyzed, second guessed and down right ridiculed. All pundits have the European team as odds on favourites, but a word of caution; never underestimate the underdog.
On any given day, any professional team can beat another. To count out the US team this early would be foolhardy!
Regardless of where your loyalties lie, the die has been cast! The selected players are celebrating and starting to build the chemistry needed to prevail in Gleneagles.
The only thing left to do is to watch some great golf, outstanding sportsmanship, and the gamesmanship.
In just over three weeks, the best in the world will be vying for the Ryder Cup and the real question is: which team will rise to the occasion?
The Grateful Golfer, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By Keith Allison (Flickr: Webb Simpson) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.