Who’s In? Who’s Out? 2014 Ryder Cup Captain’s Picks–Preview/Predictions

Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com
Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com

Ryder Cup 2014, Gleneagles, Scotland, September 23-28, 2014

With the conclusion of the European Tour’s Italian Open on Sunday, the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams have now both locked in 9 of their final 12 members based on points qualification criteria. All that is left now is the Captain’s Picks.

To fill out each team’s 12-man rosters, U.S. Team Captain, Tom Watson and European Team Captain, Paul McGinley will each select three “Captain’s Picks” on Tuesday, 2 September 2014.

European Team Captain, Paul McGinley, will announce his selections at 12:30 BST (7:30am ET) LIVE on the Golf Channel, during the Morning Drive program.

Nearly twelve hours later, U.S. Team Captain, Tom Watson, will announce his selections during a Golf Channel Ryder Cup Special, which airs LIVE on the Golf Channel beginning at 6pm ET (2300 BST).

TEAMS AND PREDICTIONS

TEAM USA (Current)

Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com
Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com

Captain’s Pick Predictions

  1. LOCK: Keegan Bradley – Playing solid golf at the right time, Keegan Bradley is an easy pick for Captain Tom Watson. Not only a long-hitter, but competitive to the bone, Bradley is an experienced player and a great partner, who will match up well with anyone . . . especially Ryder Cup veteran, Phil Mickelson.
  1. Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 7.57.43 PMSTRONG: Hunter Mahan – Maybe, or maybe not, on Watson’s radar a month ago, Hunter Mahan has caught fire at exactly the right time with one of Tom Watson’s criteria, being good form coming into the Ryder Cup.  Mahan’s come from behind win at The Barclay’s last week, his current ranking of #1 in the FedExCup standings, and his rise to #19 in the World Rankings over the past weeks, makes Hunter Mahan a strong pick for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Team.
  1. OUTSIDE – Looking IN:  Webb Simpson – In what should be an easy third pick (in my opinion), Webb Simpson could not have done anything more to show Tom Watson he’s ready. Solid play near the end of the year, currently T6 at the Deutsche Bank (at publication), and #13 on the FedExCup rankings, Simpson should be a strong candidate for the third and final pick for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Brandt Snedeker – After missing the cut at both The Barclays, and at this week’s Deutsche Bank, Brandt Snedeker is just not playing well enough when the pressure is on. Taking into account Tom Watson’s and Snedeker’s professional ties and long-time personal friendship, this will be a hard call for Watson not to make. Chris Kirk – maybe a pick out of the blue, but Chris Kirk is getting the attention of Tom Watson for his consistent play, length off the tee, and calm demeanor under the heat. The only thing working against Kirk is that the current U.S. team has three rookies already and adding a fourth might be one too many in 2014.

 

TEAM EUROPE (Current)

Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com
Image Courtesy: www.rydercup.com

Captain’s Picks Predictions

  1. Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 7.12.26 PMLOCK: Ian Poulter – Although not playing spectacular golf in 2014, Ian Poulter is beginning to play good golf at the right time. Ian Poulter, in even-numbered years, seems to become energized when the words “Ryder Cup” are even mentioned. Unable to play his way onto the team in 2014, Poulter’s past dominance and outstanding performance in team competition should make him a lock for a Captain’s Pick on September 2nd.
  1. Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 7.10.51 PMSTRONG: Stephen Gallacher – Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher has done everything he needed to do this year to make the European Ryder Cup Team on points . . . except make the European Ryder Cup Team on points. Needing a first or second place finish, at this week’s Italian Open, to guarantee his place on the team, Gallacher played some of his best golf of the year under the intense pressure and finished solo third. Keep in mind, Gallacher’s chances of being a Captain’s Pick are also helped by the fact that he’s a Scotland native, lives just 25-miles from Gleneagles, and has eight top 10 finishes during the season . . . the most of any other European Tour Player this year.
  1. OUTSIDE – Looking IN:  Lee Westwood – Experienced and also carrying an edge over others because of his length off the tee (a key factor in the long layout of PGA Centenary at Gleneagles), Lee Westwood is probably an easy – and safe – pick for Captain Paul McGinley. Westwood’s play has been up and down this year, but just like Ian Poulter, is an incredible team player and seems to turn it up a notch, when he’s partnered in team competition. Luke Donald – An experienced player, however, Donald’s game has been erratic as of late. Working against Donald, is the choice of venues for this year’s Ryder Cup. When you’re looking to match a player up with a course, Donald’s game and this year’s long layout at Gleneagles brings up questions. Rafa Cabrera-Bello – Long hitting and maybe a reach, but don’t rule out Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello as a sleeper pick for Captain McGinley. Cabrera-Bello is currently number 29 on the Race to Dubai rankings and possibly a good pairing for fellow countryman Sergio Garcia.

 

TUESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER – A BIG DAY IN GOLF

Tune in Tuesday, 2 September when the Golf Channel airs the 2014 Ryder Cup Team’s Captain’s Picks LIVE. Team Europe – 12:30 (BST)/7:30am (ET) on Morning Drive. Team USA – 6:00pm (ET) / 2300 (BST) Golf Channel Special.

 

Editor’s Note:  If you were in Captain Tom Watson’s or Captain Paul McGinley’s place, who would your three Captain’s Picks be? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. We would love to hear from you. 

BIO: Keith Cook is a Writer and Contributing Editor for localgolfer.com. He is a retired 29-year US Military Veteran and Ashford University Alumnus living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and  @LocalGolfer

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