But even after winning two events in a row, after nearly doubling his career earnings in the past three weeks, after staring down world No. 1 (and European team star) Rory McIlroy over the final 36 holes at East Lake, Horschel still doesn’t think he deserves a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
“My season wasn’t good enough,” he said Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive”. “Guys have worked two years to be on this Ryder Cup team. For me to only play two or three really good weeks and be a part of the Ryder Cup team, I would think that would take away from what they’ve done over a two-year period.
“Even at this stage right now I don’t feel like I’m deserving of being on the Ryder Cup team. Three weeks doesn’t mean I’m deserving of a Ryder Cup pick. It just means I’m a hot player and that’s all.”
Horschel may have skipped the Ryder Cup anyway – his wife is due in two weeks – but there’s no denying that the American side is not bringing its 12 best players to Gleneagles.
The cutoff date for the nine automatic qualifiers was the final round of the PGA Championship. The three captain’s picks were made Sept. 2, the day after the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Horschel had a chance to win in Boston and ultimately finished second, but he was not even really on the radar at the time after recording only one top 10 in a full-field event this season. (Last year he won once and had seven other top 10s.) And unlike Keegan Bradley, Mahan or Simpson, Horschel didn’t have to play the final few months of the season with the Ryder Cup hanging over his head. We can only wonder how he would have played with that added pressure.
So on Sept. 2, U.S. captain Tom Watson picked the three players that, at the time, were the best choices. It was clear by the end of the Tour Championship, however, that if Watson wanted the “hottest” players going into the Ryder Cup, the Americans could have done better with Horschel, Chris Kirk and even Ryan Palmer. Whether the wild-card deadline is pushed back for 2016 might hinge on the U.S. team’s performance in Scotland.