In his weekly look at the world of golf, Joy Chakravarty shares his thoughts on who Team USA should pick as their final Ryder Cup member.
Team USA is one step closer to their Ryder Cup squad – three wildcards have been announced and the final player will join the roster on September 25 – but barring the fact that he did not opt for world No7 Bubba Watson, there were no real surprises.
By naming JB Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar – his No10, 11 and 12 from the standings – Davis Love III has effectively left himself with just one wildcard.
If, at the end of the Tour Championship in Atlanta, it does turn out to be Bubba, the US captain would have made one of the most unimaginative wildcard selections in the history of the competition.
There is a case for Bubba not being picked, even though he is perhaps one of the most ingenuous shot-makers in the game. The two-time Masters champion has been struggling with his form lately, unable to score any top-10 finishes since March this year. And he is yet to win a full Ryder Cup point in three appearances.
Fowler is also going through a similar phase – he did not even qualify for the Tour Championship – while Kuchar’s last PGA Tour win was in April 2014.
But Fowler and Kuchar have something that Bubba doesn’t – they get along well with everybody in the team. Bubba, who went public earlier this year about his psychological issues with several things, finds it difficult to fit into team situations.
So, who will be Love’s last pick? Obviously, if any of the Americans not already in the team wins the Tour Championship, he’d be difficult to ignore.
But it would be an idea to opt for someone who has not felt the American pain in the Ryder Cup – a rookie. Even at Gleneagles last time, we saw how the younger brigade responded with so much enthusiasm and aggression.
At the moment, Brooks Koepka is the only rookie in the US team. Either Justin Thomas or Daniel Berger would be a great addition.
Kuchar, in the press conference, hinted Love can still pick Tiger Woods, now that the 14-time major champion has announced his comeback.
That, I can assure you, is nothing more than wishful thinking.
Speaking of Woods’ comeback, that was the biggest news in the golf world last week.
Woods said he hoped to play theSafeway Open (October 13-16), the Turkish Airlines Open (November 3-6) and the Hero World Challenge (December 1-4).
The man who was world No1 for a record 683 weeks, will return ranked below 800 (he is currently 726), but that has failed to dampen the spirits of the fans.
Everybody wants him to be back – the fans, the media, the broadcasting channels, the sponsors and the equipment industry. Already, his absence is being blamed as the main reason for the demise of Nike Golf.
However, everyone needs to also understand that this certainly won’t be the Tiger we are used to seeing. With three back surgeries, this will be a Tiger who will always be wary of his fragile body. He will need a lot of time to get back to tournament fitness.
Hopefully, Tiger will be a force again. But if his back ditches him again, I won’t be surprised if he gives up the sport for good.
Just how good has Dustin Johnson been this season on the PGA Tour?
Following are the stat categories he is leading after winning the BMW Championship last week: Top-10 finishes (14); FedExCup race; driving distance (314.2 yards); Birdie average (4.45 per round); Scoring average (69.17); official money list ($9,067,685); Birdie or better percentage: (36.61 per cent); total eagles made (16) and par-4 scoring average (3.96).
No wonder Johnson is considered a lock-in for the Player of the Year honours.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK – BRYSON DECHAMBEAU
There was never any doubt in my mind that the man who is called ‘The Scientist’ is headed for legendary status in the game.
The young American has now secured the right platform to showcase his skills, effectively sealing his PGA Tour card for the new season by winning the DAP Championship, the first of the four-tournament Web.com Finals.
Top-25 players from the mini Order of Merit Web.com Tour Finals will get their cards, and anyone finishing in the top-three in any of the tournaments is virtually guaranteed a place.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
First Lady Michelle Obama gives an insider tip to Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry on trash talk which will help get under President Obama’s skin while playing golf.
Just tell him the shadow from your ears is really messing up my putt.