Before Web-dom goes viral with talk of controversial picks and blatant slights, consider the field U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin had to pick from.
Conventional wisdom had Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink holding down the first three wild-card picks with the final selection focusing on Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim, Ryan Palmer, J.B. Holmes and maybe a half dozen others.
Unlike European skipper Colin Montgomerie there were no “obvious” choices for that final spot. It’s why Monty’s snub of Paul Casey, No. 9 in the world ranking at the time, and Justin Rose, a two-time PGA Tour winner in 2010, caused such a stir; and why Pavin’s selection of Fowler was neither controversial nor unexpected.
Fowler, a Tour and Ryder Cup rookie, had climbed to 20th on the U.S. points list based entirely on his play this season and was viewed in man y circles as an investment in the U.S. team’s future.
Pavin also has some recent history on his side. During the last matches at Valhalla the U.S. rookie class of Ben Curtis, Holmes, Kim, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Boo Weekley combined for a 9-4-8 record and went 4-1-1 in singles play.
You may not think Pavin got the right man, but you can’t fault his methods.