Who are your Ryder Cup captain's picks?

By Jason SobelAugust 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

Jose Maria Olazabal made his Ryder Cup captain's picks Monday, selecting Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts for the European team that will face the U.S. at Medinah Sept. 28-30. U.S. captain Davis Love III still has to make four picks of his own on Sept. 4, the day after the Deutsche Bank Championship.

We asked our writers for their U.S. Ryder Cup captain's picks. They were only too happy to oblige.


If my name is Davis Love III and I have to make my four captain's picks right now – as in, right this very second – I'm going with Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker.

Stricker is a great putter and partner for Tiger Woods. 'Nuff said.

Furyk has had a very strong few months, a duck hook on the 16th tee at Olympic Club and a yip on the 18th green at Firestone notwithstanding.

Fowler is the kind of guy everyone likes. He's what I call a Glue Guy – can play with anyone and can't be categorized as a ball-striker or a putter, because he does both so well.

Snedeker is a putter of the highest order. More important, he plays his best golf when his back is against the wall. Those are the kind of guys we need.

Apologies to Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson. You all came close. But remember: These are just my picks 'right this very second.' Ask me again in a few minutes and I'm liable to change my mind.


Davis Love III must be sitting in a room somewhere in tears. The man doesn't like controversy and, almost no matter whom he selects to round out his U.S. squad, he will be second-guessed. Love’s counterpart Jose Maria Olazabal had it easy; his picks were no-brainers.

Two weeks ago, following the PGA Championship, it seemed as if Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler were locks. Love may well take all four, but the last two weeks on the PGA Tour have seriously muddied the once-clear waters.

From the aforementioned list I’d still select Stricker and Mahan. Stricker is guaranteed a spot because he’s easily paired with Tiger Woods. Mahan has not played well lately, but it’d still be difficult to pass on anyone who has won twice on the PGA Tour this year.

Then I’d go with Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker to complete the team. Johnson needs to putt better, but he hits the ball miles and Medinah is a big ballpark. Snedeker putts it lights out and he’s played extremely well since the British Open, including a second-place finish at The Barclays.

That’d leave Furyk and Fowler on the outside, along with Nick Watney. Furyk has not handled pressure well this summer and Fowler hasn’t done much to speak of since May. Watney played well for one week. It was an important week, but it’s not enough.

A lot can, and will, change this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Which doesn’t make Love’s job any easier.


Davis Love III has the luxury of waiting a week until he must announce his four captain’s picks, but we’ve seen enough.

Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, Nos. 10 and 11 at the points deadline, already should have been fitted for their waterproof rain gear, (at least we hope it's waterproof) and brightly colored team sweaters.

Stricker has become the yin to Tiger Woods’ yang in the biennial slugfest and Furyk, despite disappointments at the U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational, was 5-0 at last year’s Presidents Cup and has not missed a match since his rookie Ryder Cup in 1997.

The final two picks, however, are less obvious. Hunter Mahan is a two-time winner on Tour this year, including the WGC-Accenture Match Play, but has just one top-10 finish since winning the Shell Houston Open, and Rickie Fowler secured his first Tour title this year (Wells Fargo Championship) but hasn’t posted a top 10 since May.

Which brings us to Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson – Nos. 13 and 15 on the points list – to round out Love’s team.

Johnson, who missed nearly three months of the season with injury, won his second event back (FedEx St. Jude Classic) and finished tied for third at The Barclays. While Snedeker was runner-up to Nick Watney on Sunday at Bethpage and is one of the Tour’s top putters, which is always an asset at a Ryder Cup.


Oh, the volatility of a Ryder Cup year. A week ago, Davis Love III had an easy decision: The U.S. captain would select Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler – Nos. 9-12 in the points standings on Aug. 12, when qualifying ended – and endure little or no criticism.  

It’s not quite so simple anymore, huh?

An undesirable task, to be sure, but if forced to make a decision right now, I’d take Stricker and Furyk – two Ryder Cup veterans and steadying presences in the team room – along with Barclays winner Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker.

Watney, a former top-10 player, won Sunday at Bethpage Black in such convincing fashion that it almost made you forget his 2012 swoon. (Almost.) The streaky Snedeker finished second on Long Island – yet another high finish in a season full of them – and putts lights-out, which is a desirable attribute in team competitions. Hey, by this time next week, even long-hitting Dustin Johnson (T-3 at Barclays) may deserve the pick.

Love’s lineup card has changed, and not only because of the improved play of a few of the Cup hopefuls. Hunter Mahan, a two-time winner this season who was ninth in points, has only one top 10 since April, and Rickie Fowler, a winner at Quail Hollow, doesn’t have a top 20 in his past six starts.

Naturally, the discussion will shift in a week, after another high-pressure performance at the Deutsche Bank. Only in a Ryder Cup year . . . 

Park collapses; leaderboard chaos at CME

By Nick MentaNovember 18, 2017, 8:47 pm

Sung-Hyun Park started the day with a three-shot lead and slowly gave it all back over the course of a 3-over 75, leaving the CME Group Tour Championship and a host of season-long prizes up for grabs in Naples. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the LPGA finale, where Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn, Suzann Pettersen and Kim Kaufman share the lead.

Leaderboard: Kaufman (-10), Wie (-10), Jutanugarn (-10), Pettersen (-10), Stacy Lewis (-9), Karine Icher (-9), Austin Ernst (-9), Lexi Thompson (-9), Jessica Korda (-9), Pernilla Lindberg (-9)

What it means: It wasn’t the Saturday she wanted, but Park, who already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year Award, is still in position for the sweep of all sweeps. With a victory Sunday, she would claim the CME Group Tour Championship, the Race to CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and the money title, as she ascends to No. 1 in the Rolex world ranking. Meanwhile, Thompson, too, could take the $1 million and Player of the Year. As those two battle for season-long prizes, a host of other notable names – Wie, Jutanugarn, Pettersen, Korda, Lewis and Charley Hull (-8) – will fight for the Tour Championship.

Round of the day: Kaufman made four birdies on each side in a bogey-free 8 under-par 64. A lesser-known name on a stacked leaderboard, she seeks her first LPGA victory.

Best of the rest: Amy Yang will start the final round two behind after a 7-under 65. The three-time LPGA Tour winner could pick up her second title of the season after taking the Honda LPGA Thailand in February.

Biggest disappointment: On a day that featured plenty of low scores from plenty of big names, Lydia Ko dropped 11 spots down the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd with a Saturday 72. The former world No. 1 needed two birdies in her last five holes to fight her way back to even par. Winless this season, she’ll start Sunday four back, at 6 under.

Shot of the day: I.K. Kim aced the par-3 12th from 171 yards when her ball landed on the front of the green and tracked all the way to the hole.

Kim, oddly enough, signed her name to a scorecard that featured a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was all part of a 1-under 71.

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.