Each day, until Davis Love III makes his Ryder Cup captain's picks, analysts on 'Golf Central' and 'Morning Drive' will break down the players who are vying for one of the coveted spots. Love will make his decision Sept. 4, the day after the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Today’s player under the spotlight is Steve Stricker.
Why pick: This is an easy two-part answer. Even though Stricker’s putting stats aren’t as lofty as they’ve been in recent years, he’s still among the game’s best rock-rollers and showed signs of life on the greens with back-to-back title contentions at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. That reason, though, may pale in comparison to the other one: He’s proven himself a worthy partner for Tiger Woods. Even though they got thumped in their one Presidents Cup foursomes match together last year, Stricker and Woods own a 6-2-0 record together in team competition. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t prosper as a tandem once again at Medinah.
Why skip: Well… err… uhh… the truth is, it’s difficult to find even a single reason for keeping Stricker off the team. If Love is seeking one, though, this could be it: to assert himself as the leader and send a message to the team that there isn’t anybody else influencing decisions – and that specific “anybody” is Tiger Woods. That may be a stretch and Love certainly doesn’t seem like a Hal Sutton type of captain who will impose his will on the team members, but if you’re looking for a reason to leave him home, that could be it. Another is that at age 45, he isn’t getting any younger. A nod toward a foursome of, say, Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson would help the team’s experience in future years.