UPDATED THRU SUNDAY, SEPT. 11 – FINAL RESULTS OF BMW CHAMPIONSHIP
On Monday, following this weekend’s BMW Championship, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will select three of his four wild card picks, saving his final choice until after the Tour Championship.
Here, we will track the 10 candidates with the best chance to round out Love’s team, a few longshots included.
Love’s method for choosing his team is intricate, as he has buried himself in numbers and statistics. He has also been clear that he is listening to his team’s opinions.
“I’ve told the eight guys (who’ve already qualified) that this is their team,” Love said. “If there’s a guy they all want to make the squad, he’s on.”
As you’d expect, Love has said he’s looking for the hot hand. Our tracker below shows how each contender has been playing during the current FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Ryder Cup Rank
FedEx Cup Rank
|Jim Furyk||15||86||T41||T57||out of Playoffs|
If Love were picking today, conventional wisdom would say to look at the first six players listed above. Outside of that group, exceptionally strong play (and probably a victory) will be needed at the final two FedEx Cup Playoff events.
Interestingly, Phil Mickelson said the first three picks are “obvious,” although he wouldn’t name them. My thoughts?
SUNDAY: After completion of BMW
Bubba Watson should be good to go for wild-card pick after a T20 finish.
Matt Kuchar picked the perfect week for a top-five finish, which should secure his place.
The third pick remains complicated, and is likely to go to one of these three:
Ryan Moore is no longer considered the “hot hand” after a rough week at the BMW.
Rickie Fowler also struggled. He admitted to being fatigued after playing five weeks in a row.
J.B. Holmes tied for fourth with Kuchar, sending his stock rising. Will it be enough to impress Love?
FRIDAY: After two rounds of BMW
Bubba Watson is solidifying his expected wild-card pick after a tie for 20th, running in the top 10 at the midpoint. If his place was ever in doubt, he’s doing his best to erase that doubt.
Matt Kuchar is the beneficiary of his own great play this week, as well as the stumbling of Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore. Kuchar is currently in the top 10 at the BMW, and given his experience and steadiness, he’ll be in fine shape Monday if he has a good weekend. As I mentioned Thursday, Kuchar was probably one of Phil Mickelson’s three “obvious” picks. Now we’re starting to see why.
The third pick Monday is complicated at the moment, and is likely to go to one of these three:
Ryan Moore is no longer considered the “hot hand” after a frigid 73-74 start at the BMW. Only two players are worse so far. Coming off a pair of top-10s, Moore reminds us how difficult it is to stay hot for a long period of time. Barring a weekend comeback, he might have to prove himself one more time at the Tour Championship.
Rickie Fowler is also struggling for the second straight week, shooting 75-71. He’s only one stroke better than Moore. A few months ago, Fowler seemed to be a shoe-in. Not anymore.
J.B. Holmes might just be passing Moore and Fowler by and grabbing Monday’s third spot. After a 69-65 start, he’s in the top 5 and just four off the lead. His prospects are improving each day.
THURSDAY: Before the start of BMW
Bubba Watson is as close to obvious as you will find, despite not having a top-10 finish in a PGA Tour event since March. He did tie for 8th at the Olympics and he finished T13 at The Barclays, but then missed the cut his last time out. It’s not inspiring, but who could be more “obvious” than him?
Rickie Fowler is next. Like Watson, he hasn’t played great golf in months. His year began with a series of top-10s, but he then missed the cut in the first two majors and placed T46 and T33 in the last two. Also like Watson, captain Love is likely to look beyond his recent finishes. In Fowler’s case, personality trumps the numbers. Love will likely choose him because he is well-liked and has proven to be a good partner to Jimmy Walker.
Although I don’t believe Ryan Moore is the guy Mickelson was referring to, he is my third pick. (My hunch is Matt Kuchar is Phil’s guy.) If Moore is bypassed, then why even talk about “picking the hot hand?” He won the John Deere Classic in August and he’s begun the FedEx Cup Playoffs with a pair of top-10s. If Watson, Fowler and Kuchar all started their Playoffs like Moore, the conversation would be over. So, why not give Moore the same courtesy?
Check back in after the BMW and see if anything has changed. It probably will.