A few observations now that the Ryder Cup housekeeping is out of the way – what a relief to finally reveal the U.S. team uniforms – and the matches at Gleneagles are just three weeks away:
- I like Tom Watson’s three captain’s picks, though I understand the argument some have made that Chris Kirk belonged on the team ahead of Webb Simpson.
Simpson has the advantage of having won a U.S. Open and having played in a Ryder Cup, even if it’s hard to forget the shank he hit in his Sunday singles match against Ian Poulter at Medinah. Simpson has been there and adding a fourth rookie to a roster that includes first-timers Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed may have been the deciding factor in Simpson’s favor.
Also, Simpson pairs well with Bubba Watson, which can’t be said about everyone.
Bradley figured to be a pick all along because he fits so well with Phil Mickelson, whose game is a wild card at the moment.
Mahan is a solid choice and, after his Barclays victory, it’s hard to argue Kirk deserved it more.
Brandt Snedeker couldn’t get it done when he needed to and it cost him.
- Paul McGinley’s European choices of Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood offered no great surprises.
Gallacher played his way on and Poulter is Poulter. That left a choice between Westwood and Luke Donald and McGinley opted for form.
- Three weeks out, this doesn’t feel as lopsided as it did a few weeks ago. The Americans still will be underdogs but it feels like the gap has narrowed.
Captain Watson is playing up the redemption angle already and given what happened two years ago and what’s happened every time the matches have been played overseas in the past 21 years, it’s the obvious approach.
Watson’s old-school approach can go one of two ways: It can rally a team that needs some good vibes or there can be a disconnect from one generation to another. As with most Ryder Cups, that may depend on which side is making the most putts.
- McGinley will have five assistant captains. That’s a lot of golf carts.
- Remember when captain’s picks didn’t generate television specials?