NEW YORK – Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III caused a few murmurs at the Nasdaq Market Site on Tuesday when making his picks.
''And then last but not least – and if you read between the lines, not in any particular order except that we are doing it by height,'' he said.
No, it was Steve Stricker, who is listed at an even 6 feet in the PGA Tour media guide, which made him the shortest of the picks. Stricker has never been considered short, except when compared with a Ryder Cup team that is getting taller all the time.
Talk about growing the game.
''We're getting bigger and bigger athletes,'' Love said.
Love, who is 6-foot-3, was the tallest player when he made his first Ryder Cup team in 1993. There are five players who are at least 6-foot-3 on this team - Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.
''I wasn't a good athlete, I was just tall,'' Love said. ''Now we're getting good athletes. Dustin Johnson, you put him in a (New York) Giants uniform, he'd fit right in. You're getting them from other sports, guys that could have played another sport. Lucas Glover could have played baseball if he wanted to. Nicolas Colsaerts is a big strong guy. There's obviously going to be great chippers and putters – short guys – but we're trending toward bigger, more powerful athletes.''
Consider one of the ways he described why he took Johnson as a captain's pick.
''You just want the best athletes available in the draft,'' Love said with a grin.
BUSY STRETCH: Graeme McDowell started the FedEx Cup at No. 27 and now goes to Crooked Stick needing a strong tournament to reach the Tour Championship. This is only his second year as a PGA Tour member during the FedEx Cup era, and he still hasn't quite figured it out.
Not the points – the emotion.
McDowell hasn't won this year, but he was in the final group at the U.S. Open and had a chance on the back nine of the British Open.
''I've just been fatigued the last few weeks,'' McDowell said. ''I haven't switched on since the PGA Championship. It's my second shot at the PGA playoffs, and I probably haven't mentally gotten my head around it. It's a busy few months. I shot a shot at the U.S. Open, I had a shot at the Open, did all right at the PGA. I think I'm tired. The big priority the next few weeks before the Ryder Cup is a lot of rest, making sure I'm fired up come Medinah.''
If he had it do over, McDowell might have followed the route of Jason Dufner, who skipped The Barclays. McDowell missed the cut at Bethpage Black, which is the same as not playing. Of course, that's easy to say now.
''It's difficult to not play these things,'' he said. ''They have big purses, and the carrot ($10 million bonus to the winner) is fairly large.''
Dufner had that luxury.
He was No. 2 in the FedEx Cup going into the playoffs and only slipped to No. 6 after not playing. The only thing it might cost him is one of the top five seeds, meaning he could capture the FedEx Cup with a win at East Lake no matter what anyone else does.
And if Dufner had not been ranked so high?
''I might have had to think about it,'' Dufner said.
MAKING THE CUT: Ian Poulter was proud as ever when he walked out of the scoring trailer Saturday after signing for a 71. After speaking briefly about his new Ferrari, he looked back and said what sounded like, ''I've made a year's worth of putts.'' Guys say that all the time.
What he actually said was, ''I've made a year's worth of cuts.'' And indeed he has.
Poulter missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship last year, and that was his last one. That's 23 tournaments since then, and 23 times earning a check.
Even better news?
There is no cut at the BMW Championship this week, or the Tour Championship if he qualifies. Depending on his schedule the rest of the year, the next tournament he plays that has a cut will be the Australian Masters, where he is the defending champion.
DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods are the only players to be No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, world ranking and the PGA Tour money list at the same time. ... U.S. Amateur champion Steve Fox, Justin Thomas and Chris Williams have been selected to play on the U.S. team in the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship, which will be held Oct. 4-7 in Turkey. ... Three players who started outside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup have advanced to the third playoff event at the BMW Championship – David Hearn (58), Graham Delaet (60) and Bob Estes (62). ... No one in the BMW Championship has competed in a professional event at Crooked Stick. Davis Love III and Billy Mayfair were at the 1991 PGA Championship, but neither advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. ... The Tiger Woods Foundation will run the Deutsche Bank Championship next year.
No changes are likely to be noticed, and Eric Baldwin will remain as the tournament director. IMG had been running the event since its inception in 2003, with all proceeds going to Woods' foundation.
STAT OF THE WEEK: The winner of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick will earn $1.44 million. That's $240,000 more than the entire purse when Crooked Stick hosted the 1991 PGA Championship.
FINAL WORD: ''It just feels empty right now.'' – Hunter Mahan after being bypassed as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup.
Graeme McDowell made amends for last year's defeat to capture the Volvo World Match Play Championship on Sunday, defeating Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1 in the final at Thracian Cliffs Golf and Beach Resor... Read More
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