NEW YORK – U.S. captain Corey Pavin has four picks and one tough decision to fill out his Ryder Cup team.
Pavin already has eight players who earned their way onto the team after the PGA Championship, then had the next three weeks to see who distinguished themselves as an obvious pick.
That should be an easy one.
“I think he has my number,” Woods said when asked if he would be on pins and needles waiting on a call. “No, I’ll talk to him this afternoon, give him a call.”
Most indications are that Zach Johnson, who won at Colonial this year and has been playing well since the PGA Championship, will get another pick. Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open champion who has played on the last four teams, also is expected to get chosen.
The fourth one has everyone guessing, and Pavin hasn’t revealed much.
Pavin was meeting with his assistant captains in a New York hotel on Monday to go over the picks and start making calls.
“I think it’s the war room, whatever that is,” assistant captain Paul Goydos said.
When he was at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week, he carried a white sheet of paper with 14 names on it – the players who were invited to a barbecue during the PGA Championship because they were among the top 21 in the standings, and Pavin added David Toms after his runner-up finish in Greensboro a week later.
Charley Hoffman wasn’t on the list. Hoffman wasn’t on anyone’s mind.
And then he made 11 birdies in the final round at the TPC Boston to shoot 62 and win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
“No question I think I can contribute to that team,” Hoffman said. “If I can shoot 62 here in the playoffs, I’m pretty sure I can handle the Ryder Cup.”
Pavin had said earlier in the week that he would not rule out anyone who won this week, but that anyone who had a strong showing should not assume it was enough to make the team.
“There are no promises out there to anyone,” he said.
Among those under consideration, Anthony Kim and Ben Crane missed the cut. Lucas Glover closed with a 72-75 weekend, while Nick Watney tied for 33rd.
The wild card in this is Rickie Fowler, the 21-year-old player with loads of promise but lacking in performance. He has a pair of runner-up finishes in his rookie season and is favored to get to the Tour Championship. But he has never won on tour, and the American team already has one player – Jeff Overton – who became the first player on a U.S. team to have never won.
Then again, Cink is among those who believe that the Deutsche Bank Championship was not an audition, and anyone suggesting the tournament would help Pavin make up his mind is “way off base.”
“I think what he’s looking at is chunks of the year, who’s trending in the right direction,” Cink said.
Experience might not be a bad idea. Of the eight Americans already on the team, only four have played in the Ryder Cup – Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker. Of those four, only Mickelson and Furyk have played a Ryder Cup on the road.
The matches are Oct. 1-3 in Wales.