FACED WITH A long list of tough decisions, Davis Love III went with players he trusts to perform under pressure when naming his US captain’s picks for the 2012 Ryder Cup on Tuesday.
Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker were selected as the final four names on Love’s 12-man teamsheet for Medinah, leaving Hunter Mahon, a two-time winner on Tour this season, among others out in the cold .
Rickie Fowler, who impressed in his rookie match at Celtic Manor in 2010, also misses out as does Nick Watney, whose win at the Barclays last month was not enough to paper over the fact that he finished way down the points list in 30th.
Ninth-placed Mahan started the spring with wins at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, where he beat Rory McIlroy to the $1.4m first prize, and the Shell Houston Open but Love said that he did not place any particular emphasis on the contenders’ recent form.
“I honestly don’t know how much weight we put on it, except not really the numbers. We watched how guys were putting and playing. I didn’t say well, one guy finished T-6 and one guy finished T-20 so we’re going to give him the edge.
I watched from the beginning of the year — like Keegan Bradley making that putt in LA [at the Northern Trust Open] and Phil [Mickelson] making that putt in LA to get into a playoff; Keegan making the putt at Akron [at the Bridgestone Invitational]. Things like that is what I was looking for and not particularly scores.
He added: “There were some guys that were really feeling the pressure to make the team and really since the British, since the PGA, a couple of guys have really stepped up and handled that pressure very, very well and that was a big factor.
With Bradley one of three rookies to qualify automatically alongside US Open champion Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner, Love named the more experienced heads of Furyk and Stricker in his wildcard quartet as expected.
“It was a tough decision, but I feel like in the end we rounded out our 12 the best way we knew how.”
US Ryder Cup team: Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods.