When U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson made his three captain’s picks for the team he will take to Gleneagles later this month, he went with two old reliables – form and experience.
Those factors led Watson to add Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson to the team, filling out the 12-player roster that will try to win cup on European soil for the first time in 21 years.
In the days and weeks leading up to his decision, Watson repeatedly talked about looking for players who showed heart and passion. It led him to two players (Bradley and Simpson) who were part of the American team that suffered a bitter defeat two years ago at Medinah when the Europeans rallied on the final day for an unlikely victory, and Mahan, who won the Barclays two weeks ago.
Watson’s decision meant he bypassed Chris Kirk, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday, thrusting himself deeper into the wild-card speculation.
The selection of Bradley was not surprising. He and Phil Mickelson have shown themselves to be a formidable pair in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup and will likely play together again at Gleneagles. Both Mahan and Simpson have played solidly in recent weeks, though Simpson has not won since late last year.
Earlier Tuesday, European captain Paul McGinley added Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood to his roster, leaving off Ryder Cup veteran Luke Donald.
Watson’s full 12-man team for the Sept. 26-28 event at Gleneagles in Scotland: