NEW YORK – In honor of today’s U.S. Ryder Cup captain’s picks announcement from the home of “Saturday Night Live” at 30 Rock we go to Studio 8H for an open audition, SNL style.
Cue the late Don Pardo: “It’s ‘Saturday Night Live,’ with Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas, Chris Kirk, Webb Simpson, Brendon Todd, Harris English. And featuring U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.”
Keegan Bradley (Bill Hader as James Carville): “Do I think about the other potential picks? I think plenty about them and I laugh. I laugh. I laugh. We don’t always get the job we look right for. If we did Bill Haas would be the king of the snakes.”
The U.S. side’s answer to Ian Poulter went undefeated in team play paired with Phil Mickelson in 2012 and his tie for 16th at TPC Boston was his fourth top-20 finish in his last six starts. He may be more than two years removed from his last PGA Tour victory, but the U.S. side will need the fire Bradley brings to the table in Scotland.
Hunter Mahan (Justin Timberlake as the Dancing Mascot): “(Singing) All I do is win, win, win no matter. Got ball-striking on your mind, you can never get enough. And every time I step onto the course your GIR goes up … Bring it on down to Hunter-ville.”
Mahan’s victory at The Barclays to begin the playoffs was exactly the kind of late surge Paul Azinger envisioned with he lobbied the PGA of America to change the U.S. selection process in 2008. He also has plenty of Ryder Cup experience and his 3-2-3 record in the matches is impressive relative to the U.S team’s pedestrian play the last few years.
Bill Haas (Kevin Nealon as Mr. Subliminal): “I don’t know who Watson should select, pick me. I’ve never played in a Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup twice, and have never really felt that pressure, FedEx Cup champ. I guess you would want to find someone who has been consistent, haven’t missed a cut all year, and can gel with the team, my dad’s Jay.”
He capped an amazingly consistent year, a perfect 26-for-26 in cuts made, with a solid week at the Deutsche Bank Championship (T-9) and added a runner-up finish at the Wyndham Championship that will likely sway Watson in Haas’ direction. He’s also one of the Tour’s most popular members and would likely get the support of the players who are already on the team.
Chris Kirk (Jimmy Fallon): “Enjoy your stay, they all do ... ”
While Kirk played along with the “Tonight Show” lampoon following the PGA Championship – for the record, he’s taken a new head shot for next year’s Tour media guide – he didn’t give Watson anything to laugh about with his victory on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship where he outplayed Rory McIlroy, the European team’s anchor, in a key Sunday pairing.
Unfortunately it was the would-be Ryder Cup rookie’s first top-10 since May and he will likely have to go with Plan B. “I’m planning on going to see Georgia play Tennessee that weekend. We’ll see what happens,” he smiled at TPC Boston.
Brandt Snedeker (Christopher Walken as super producer Bruce Dickinson, pictured above): “Easy guys. I put my pants on just like the rest of you, one leg at a time. Except that once I get my pants on I putt like gold. You’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Snedeker. Don’t fear the reaper.”
This will likely test the theory that the extra time to make the captain’s picks allows a skipper to pick the players who are in form. Before the playoffs began Snedeker was among the short list of contenders to land a pick, but he missed the cut at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship and, perhaps more concerning, has struggled with the putter in recent weeks. Watson has likely spent more time with Snedeker then any other potential pick, but that may not be enough to land him a start in Scotland.
Brendon Todd (played by Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers): “You can’t pick a rookie to play in the Ryder Cup, it’s too overwhelming ... said every losing U.S. Ryder Cup captain the last two decades.”
History suggests Watson may steer clear of picking any rookies for this year’s team. This is, after all, the same captain who made Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins his picks in 1993 when the veterans were 22nd and 32nd, respectively, on the U.S. point list. But Todd, who was the hottest U.S. player for a month and half this summer, can make a compelling argument that he deserves a pick and he ranks sixth on Tour in strokes gained-putting, always a key statistic when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
Bubba Watson (Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby): “I don’t know how you can leave me off this team. I’m just a great big American winning machine and ... I’m sorry what? Already on the team. Don’t need a pick, just a partner. Wow, OK, well this is embarrassing. Go USA.”
Webb Simpson (Jason Sudeikis as coach Ted Lasso): “I miss the United Kingdom dearly and my philosophy is ‘Keep calm and get fired up.’”
Simpson’s finish on Monday at TPC Boston (T-9) was encouraging after missing the cut in two of his last four starts, but it will be his history with Bubba Watson that may land him one of the coveted picks.
Bubba Watson – who along with Patrick Reed presents a pairing challenge in the team format – is 5-2-0 when he was paired with Simpson at the 2012 Ryder Cup and 2013 Presidents Cup. In 2008, Azinger let his players decide who deserves a pick and that worked out pretty well. When it comes to Simpson, Watson – Bubba, not Tom – may be the overwhelming force.
Pan to Tom Watson (himself) sitting next to Lorne Michaels in the audience: “Live from New York, it’s the Ryder Cup captain’s picks ...”