Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, David Toms, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk have secured their places on the 2011 U.S. Presidents Cup roster. Having already used one of two captain's picks on Tiger Woods, U.S. captain Fred Couples still has one week to make his other pick. Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley are three of the most talked-about options at the moment. GolfChannel.com senior writers Rex Hoggard and Jason Sobel offer their take on who Couples should pick.
BY: Jason Sobel
I spoke with Presidents Cup team member Hunter Mahan the other day — before he was confirmed as a Presidents Cup team member — and asked him which player should join Tiger Woods as captain Fred Couples’ other wild-card selection.
Echoing not only Phil Mickelson’s recent sentiments, but those of Brandt Snedeker and others, Mahan contended that Keegan Bradley should be a “no-brainer” to make the roster.
It’s good to know I’ve got some heavy hitters agreeing with me.
The biennial event — well, any team competition, really — is all about dealing with pressure. Let’s see ... which U.S.-born player best dealt with pressure at a big-time event this year? That would be none other than Bradley, who triumphed at the PGA Championship in dramatic fashion, the first American to win a major since Mickelson at last year’s Masters.
He’s also the type of guy who would be a good fit in the team room, as he gets along well with his fellow younger players, but isn’t starstruck around the veterans.
Of course, this question is about which player Freddie “should” pick, not which one he “will” select for the team. After his final round at the BMW Championship on Sunday, Bradley revealed that he hasn’t heard one word from Couples, who just happens to be his all-time favorite golfer. While the captain isn’t one for extraneous phone calls, this can’t bode well for the rookie’s chances, though Couples did mention him along with Snedeker and Bill Haas as the most serious contenders.
If the captain wants to not only reward the most deserving player, but appease his team members, he’ll name Bradley to the team on Sept. 27.
BY: Rex Hoggard
If Fred Couples is looking for an easy out to round out his dirty dozen that will jet to Royal Melbourne in November, we give you Brandt Snedeker. Not that Capt. America is playing this one by anything even resembling a normal playbook.
Couples already broke protocol when he made Tiger Woods his first captain’s pick, more than a month before the announcement was due on Sept. 27, and on Sunday he made it clear the final spot on his team will likely come down to Snedeker, Bill Haas and PGA champion Keegan Bradley.
“I’m a proponent of a points system,” said Snedeker during the Deutsche Bank Championship. “I feel like there are some politics involved.”
No, Snedeker wasn’t talking about this year’s Presidents Cup. Instead he was referring to a broken U.S. Walker Cup selection process that slighted him in 2003 despite an arguably superior resume.
But Snedeker’s comments seemed strangely apropos considering his current situation. Despite finishing T-3, T-3, T-22 in his last three events and having one of the game’s hottest putters, he may be destined for another snub, political or otherwise.
Bradley is the only American with a major on the mantel this year, although he has just one top-20 finish since Atlanta, and seems to be the leader in Couples’ clubhouse, while Haas may be the sentimental pick considering his father, Jay, is an American assistant captain.
Politics may keep Snedeker off another national team, but they shouldn’t.