Monday, August 11, 2008

Ryder Cup: It's Not All Bad for Ben Curtis

He just found his way onto the Ryder Cup team through automatic qualifying and displaced Steve Stricker from an automatic slot by finishing tied for second place. Here are the automatic qualifiers:

Player Points
Phil Mickelson 5,342.500
Stewart Cink 4,952.665
Kenny Perry 4,480.700
Jim Furyk 4,423.892
Anthony Kim 4,035.296
Justin Leonard 3,379.274
Ben Curtis 3,120.061
Boo Weekley 2,785.095

So, how do we feel about that line up?

Well, Azinger got what he wanted: winners. All of these players except Furyk and Curtis have won this season on Tour.

He also has three rookies that fit in well with this quote:

"I've said this all along," Azinger noted on Wednesday, "that to me, experience is important but it is also overrated. I mean, experience now, anyone who has played Ryder Cup in the last six Ryder Cups has experience getting their (butt) beat. So, I mean, I'm not looking for experience."
Ok, fine. Then that's what he is getting. How about those four captain's picks TBD? Here are 9-15:

Steve STRICKER 2663.568
Woody AUSTIN 2422.983
D.J. TRAHAN 2372.566
Hunter MAHAN 2304.517
Sean O'HAIR 2282.822
Rocco MEDIATE 2273.660
Brandt SNEDEKER 2248.887

You almost certainly have to pick Stricker because he is fairly close to 8th. Austin would seemingly get in because of what he brings to the team emotionally speaking. Then, you have four golfers for two spots. None of them have Ryder Cup experience, all have approximately the same number of points, and none really did that much this week.

Brandel Chamblee at The Golf Channel seemed to be of the mind to pick young players that have not experienced European ass kickings. He even went as far as to suggest Parker MacLachlan get a look. No. But, I can see a case for a bunch of young kids getting a chance over older players.

JB Holmes is someone that Azinger reportedly wants to pick, but can he justify it given that Holmes is 17th on the points list and his performance on Sunday? If he can justify Holmes, then why not 19th placed Bart Bryant? I would much rather have a match play grinder like Bryant.

No matter what, though, you have to consider this:
Ben Curtis' tie for second shot him up from 20th to 7th on the Ryder Cup points list (the top eight make the team automatically), but no other American player from fifth through 20th made any kind of statement. Boo Weekley tied for 20th, Holmes and Jim Furyk tied for 29th and D.J. Trahan and Sean O'Hair tied for 31st. Anthony Kim disappeared without a splash on Sunday, shooting 75-77, as did Justin Leonard (72-80). Add in the terrific performances from Euro team members Harrington, Garcia, Henrik Stenson (tied for fourth) and Justin Rose (tied for ninth) and it isn't a stretch to say the Europeans are the favorites in Kentucky next month.


The Florida Masochist said...

As Captain's selections go, Stricker and Austin are fine with me. O'Hair and Mediate I like personally but don't know what they'll bring to the team. Seeing as the US is likely to crash and burn, Azinger should bring in some entertaining players. John Daly, Bubba Watson, JB Holmes, or heck anyone who at least is worth watching.


PS- I really don't expect the last strategy to be taken,.

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