Forecasting the 2014 Ryder Cup: July 8th
About a month and a half ago, I took a look at the current state of the American and European Ryder Cup teams that will be playing at Gleneagles this September. It wasn’t looking good for the Americans last time, but I think it’s getting a little bit better, so I figured it was time for an update.
Below, I’ve listed the nine current players for each team, along with their Ryder Cup records. Each player is clickable for a full match play record as well.
|Team USA||Ryder Cup Singles Record||Ryder Cup Team Record||Current Points|
- Bubba’s stranglehold over the rest of the team is pretty spectacular to look at, and even Jimmy Walker has a pretty sizeable advantage over Dustin Johnson in the second spot. In terms of the points, I’d find it hard to believe that anyone would knock out the top six guys with the amount of time that we have left here. That means that Fowler, Dufner and Reed are the only ones here that aren’t on stable ground.
- I really think that Spieth is going to be a monster in this format, especially since he’s playing for his country. He’s got the game and the mentality that just seems to play well at the Ryder Cup, plus having played in the Presidents Cup last year can only be a good thing for getting him prepared.
- When I looked at this team originally back in May, I suggested that with the way the team looked, that a player like Fowler was needed as a captain’s pick just because of his ability to make birdies and essentially be a gamebreaker. His performance at Pinehurst has him in a guaranteed spot right now, and that’s great news for the Americans.
- Having Jim Furyk pretty much locked in at this point has to be pretty scary for Tom Watson.
- Pretty incredible to think that a player who has won three times in the past calendar year is close to falling out, but that’s where we’re at with Patrick Reed, who admittedly has started to play better in the last few weeks. Still though, with Watson suggesting that he’s going to be looking at form more than anything, Reed’s going to need to pick it up quick to not only stay on the team, but even be considered for a captain’s pick should he fall out.
On The Bubble
- Guys on the immediate bubble: Brendon Todd, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Kevin Na, Ryan Moore, Erik Compton and Matt Every.
- Other big names and their current place: Gary Woodland (22nd), Bill Haas (26th), Brandt Snedeker (28th), Billy Horschel (33rd), Hunter Mahan (35th), Steve Stricker (42nd), Tiger Woods (72nd) and Nick Watney (79th).
My Captain’s Picks
The next couple of weeks is going to be really important for Tom Watson, mostly because of Phil and Tiger. With Tiger back and playing, that potentially gives the American side way more firepower, but Watson has said that he’ll only select Tiger if he’s healthy and playing well, and unless he does something completely out of character and changes his schedule, Tiger won’t have much time to prove to Watson that he’s healthy. Let’s assume that he keeps his schedule: that gives Tiger the Open next week at Hoylake, Bridgestone and the PGA at Valhalla. For Phil, unlike Tiger, he’s been playing but he hasn’t been doing much good out there. We all know that he can turn it on at a moment’s notice though, and I think he’ll be there in September.
As it stands right now, I think you need to take Phil for the same reasons that I suggested Fowler last time. Keegan Bradley has been playing better recently, and I still think he’s better than just about anyone on this list, so he gets the second spot. Lastly, as much as I’d love to take Tiger here, I’m not convinced that he’s ready to go here, so Harris English is my last pick.
|Team Europe||Ryder Cup Singles Record||Ryder Cup Team Record|
- This is the same nine that we looked at in my previous post, but some interesting things have happened in that time.
- First, Martin Kaymer went crazy. After winning the Players, he went on to dominate at Pinehurst, winning the U.S. Open by 123214 strokes. Originally, he was looking like a borderline member of this team, but he’s just become another deadly option for Paul McGinley’s side.
- Thomas Bjorn, who has been on the record as saying that he wanted to play on this team more than anything this year, has had an interesting run of events, either finishing inside the top-15 or missing the cut in every event since the Masters. He also pulled out of the U.S. Open early with a shoulder problem, likely because he didn’t want to hurt himself further and damage his chances of qualifying for this event. If Bjorn falls out of this squad, I doubt that McGinley takes him as a captain’s pick.
- Dubuisson also struggled with a shoulder problem after nearly taking out Jason Day at Dove Mountain, and he hasn’t done much of anything since then, with his runner-up finish at the Nordea Masters being his only top-25 since the WGC-Match Play. Still though, he’s pretty much locked in at this point based on the European Points List.
- The number one guy in danger of losing his spot on the roster right now is Donald, partially because he plays almost exclusively on the PGA Tour and also because he really hasn’t done much of note since the last Ryder Cup at Medinah. In the next couple of weeks, it’s very likely that he gets passed by some combination of the bubble players listed below.
On The Bubble
- Guys on the immediate bubble: Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Stephen Gallacher, Francesco Molinari, Joost Luiten, Lee Westwood, Pablo Larrazabal, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Jonas Blixt.
- Other interesting names to watch: Paul Casey
My Captain’s Picks
There’s zero chance that Poulter won’t be on this team, so we might as well just pencil him in now as the tenth guy. Graeme McDowell winning last week in France pushed him significantly up the list, plus he’s good friends with McGinley, so I find it hard to believe that he would miss out. My last pick would fall to Lee Westwood just because of his Ryder Cup record, but his performance hasn’t exactly been inspiring recently, so I wouldn’t be surprised if McGinley went somewhere else. Jimenez is obviously the popular pick out of the group above, and Gallacher will get some support thanks to the event being held in Scotland, but I really think Paul Casey could sneak up this list in a hurry. He’s been playing much better recently, and is a two-time winner at Gleneagles, but he’ll need to continue this upward swing in order to unseat the players listed above.
As of today, here’s what my Ryder Cup teams would look like at Gleneagles in September.
|Team USA||Team Europe|
|Bubba Watson||Victor Dubuisson|
|Jimmy Walker||Jamie Donaldson|
|Dustin Johnson||Henrik Stenson|
|Matt Kuchar||Thomas Bjorn|
|Jordan Spieth||Sergio Garcia|
|Jim Furyk||Rory McIlroy|
|Rickie Fowler||Martin Kaymer|
|Jason Dufner||Justin Rose|
|Patrick Reed||Luke Donald|
|Phil Mickelson||Ian Poulter|
|Keegan Bradley||Graeme McDowell|
|Harris English||Lee Westwood|