Forecasting the 2014 Ryder Cup: August 6th
We’re less than two months away from the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, and both the American and European teams are starting to take shape for captains Tom Watson and Paul McGinley. With the American point standings locked after this week’s PGA Championship, this will likely be my last Ryder Cup forecasting post, at least in its current form. I’ll definitely have more coverage of the event for both theScore and here on the blog in the next few weeks. Each player in the below tables is clickable and takes you to complete match play records.
|Team USA||Ryder Cup Singles Record||Ryder Cup Team Record||Current Points|
- Obviously the big change with the above list is the absence of Dustin Johnson, who was definitely being looked at as a big asset for a group of relatively inexperienced players. The team isn’t bad by any stretch, but Johnson not being there is a major problem.
- The players with the stars beside them have already locked up their spots, with Spieth pretty much a guarantee for the team unless something disastrous happens this week at Valhalla where he misses the cut and everyone below him finishes near the the top.
- The three rookies on the list don’t concern me much because I think experience is a little overrated when talking about this event. I mean, what good is the experience if your record is flat terrible like Furyk’s?
- Having Fowler lock up a spot was huge for Watson, as his explosiveness is going to be needed, especially without Johnson in the mix.
- The only other thing to keep an eye on with this group is Dufner’s injury situation, as he’s currently playing with two bulging discs in his neck. He’s said that he would consider sitting out at least a portion of the FedEx Cup playoffs if he qualified on points, which is admirable, but I’d think that Watson would like to see him on the course as well to avoid some form of rust in September.
On The Bubble
- Guys on the immediate bubble: Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Brendon Todd, Ryan Moore, Chris Kirk, Webb Simpson, Harris English, Kevin Na, Matt Every, Erik Compton and Kevin Stadler.
- Other big names and their current place: Gary Woodland (22nd), Brandt Snedeker (25th), Bill Haas (26th), Hunter Mahan (32nd), Billy Horschel (34th), Steve Stricker (38th) and Tiger Woods (69th).
My Captain’s Picks
I was really starting to come around on the idea of taking Tiger on this team, and if he were being honest, I’d bet that Watson would say the same thing with the other options that are currently available. The only way Tiger gets on this team is maybe if he wins this week at Valhalla and when you consider that he hasn’t even committed to playing this week, it makes it hard to think that he’s going to be on this team and realistically, there’s no reason why he should be at this stage. Based on the above list, I’d take Mickelson and Bradley in the first two spots, and I’d be shocked if Watson doesn’t do the same. The third pick is where it gets tricky though.
On the No Laying Up podcast this week, Shane Bacon of Yahoo said that he thought the final pick would be Snedeker, partially because of his relationship with Watson and that makes some sense, but I also don’t think he’s a great fit for Gleneagles. Harris English would be my last pick because frankly, his game sets up best for the course and I don’t think you’ll find another player with more talent than him. Gary Woodland is the other name I was looking at, but I think English is the guy.
|Team Europe||Ryder Cup Singles Record||Ryder Cup Team Record|
- So, for the first time in months, we have real movement on this team. After the Bridgestone, McDowell knocked Luke Donald out of a guaranteed spot and because of their great play over the past few events, McIlroy and Garcia moved into spots secured on the European points list instead of the world points list.
- What does that mean? Well, it means that Jamie Donaldson, who has had a spot on the European points list for months, has now fallen out and is barely hanging on via his world ranking, just ahead of Donald.
- As of this writing, the European team has four of the top five ranked players in the world, only missing out on Adam Scott in the second spot behind Rory.
- McGinley has to be happy that McDowell is on the team automatically right now, as considering their tight relationship, he was going to be an automatic pick but now McGinley can shift his attention elsewhere.
- Unlike the American team, qualification for Europe doesn’t end until August 31st, so the players have a little bit of time to make up ground. With that said, seven of the nine spots appear to be locked up, with only McDowell and Donaldson teetering on the edge at the moment.
On The Bubble
- Guys on the immediate bubble: Luke Donald, Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari, Joost Luiten, Lee Westwood, Pablo Larrazabal, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Shane Lowry and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
My Captain’s Picks
So, even though there’s been a lot of talk about Bernhard Langer, that’s thankfully started to die down and I don’t think that McGinley is legitimately considering Langer. In the two previous posts I’ve put together on this, I’ve selected McDowell, Poulter and Westwood and I see no reason to change it up with Poulter and Westwood, even though both of them aren’t playing at peak form right now. I thought this was interesting on Sunday after the Bridgestone though:
I know it’s not overly exciting, but I’d take Donald in the last spot because I can’t ignore form with Poulter and Westwood and then leave Donald off the team. Plus, his record is terrific and he’s still a great putter that works perfectly in a team format. As good as the other names are above, I don’t see anyone there that I would definitely take over Donald, so it’s a no-brainer to me to take him in this spot.
|Team USA||Team Europe|
|Bubba Watson||Rory McIlroy|
|Jim Furyk||Victor Dubuisson|
|Jimmy Walker||Sergio Garcia|
|Rickie Fowler||Henrik Stenson|
|Matt Kuchar||Justin Rose|
|Jordan Spieth||Martin Kaymer|
|Patrick Reed||Thomas Bjorn|
|Jason Dufner||Graeme McDowell|
|Zach Johnson||Jamie Donaldson|
|Phil Mickelson||Luke Donald|
|Keegan Bradley||Ian Poulter|
|Harris English||Lee Westwood|