ATLANTA – The Ryder Cup is still a week away but a lesson has already been learned – holding the final spot open on the U.S. team until after the Tour Championship was a good idea in theory but an awkward one in reality.
Two years from now, figure out how many automatic qualifiers there will be and how many captain’s picks. Make all the captain’s picks at the same time.
Don’t leave Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and who knows who else twisting in the late summer wind, wondering if they’re going to Minnesota next week.
Get rid of the Billy Horschel rule.
“So many guys have an argument,” Thomas said. “So many guys have a downside.
“If it ended right now, you know what, everybody can say one thing or can say the other or can say another person, and who knows what’s going to happen?”
The 12th-man rule was put in place with good intentions and Lord knows the U.S. needs every advantage it can get when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
But the way it’s playing out, Bubba Watson, No. 7 in the world, has become the most sympathetic figure among the so-called hopefuls while Thomas is a bundle of nerves, Berger is grinding away, Kevin Kisner is wondering if winning the Tour Championship would change Love’s decision and Kevin Chappell should be thinking the same thing.
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with when it comes to not thinking about it,” Thomas said.
“It’s one thing to come down the stretch of a tournament and not thinking about winning, but I’ve just had so long to think about the Ryder Cup, and for people to say they don’t think about it, I think is absurd. It enters my mind every round at some point.”
Then there’s Bubba, who says he’s giving no thought to his Ryder Cup status.
“It’s easy to block it. There’s nothing I can do now,” Watson said.
“Davis said it’s all about strategies and different things. It’s not about my play. It’s not about anybody’s play. So I can’t worry about that.”
“We all want to be a part of the team,” Watson said. “Like I said in an interview yesterday, I want to be a part of the team.
“I sent (Love) a text that said, Can I be assistant captain if you don’t pick me? So I put it out there. I want to be a part of the team no matter what.”