In this first article we are going to take an indepth look at those who are going to participate as members of Team USA in the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois, starting on 28th September 2012.
Outlined below are the 12 golfers who will form captain Davis Love III’s team for the clash with Europe.
Keegan Bradley (Age 26)
(Ryder Cup Apps 0, Ryder Cup Record W0-L0-H0, World Ranking 13, Major Titles 1)
Comes from a famous golfing family as his aunt, Pat Bradley, won six titles on the Ladies PGA Tour and he became only the 2nd player since 1913 to win a Major at the first attempt when winning the USPGA title in 2011. Bradley has enjoyed a solid season and victory earlier this year at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational propelled him to the forefront of the Ryder Cup rankings. A solid, combative golfer who has worked hard to improve his game and demeanour.
Jason Dufner (Age 35)
(Ryder Cup Apps 0, Ryder Cup Record W0-L0-H0, World Ranking 7, Major Titles 0)
Another American rookie, Dufner has enjoyed a very consistent season, with a purple period of five weeks when he finished first twice and second, then followed that with fourth at the US Open. His languid style and carefree tone may make it seem like he doesn’t care on the course, but that is far from the truth as his performances over the year show and his calm nature may well be a bonus at a fired-up Medinah this year.
Jim Furyk (Age 42)
(Ryder Cup Apps 7, Ryder Cup Record W8-L15-H4, World Ranking 27, Major Titles 1)
Although Furyk may not have the best Ryder Cup record, he has enjoyed a good season once again and proved to be superb in last years President’s Cup when he won all five of his matches. That form, his experience, general good nature and ability to be flexible to work with other golfers made him a very good choice by captain Davis Love III, even if some critics felt that Furyk was a little lucky to get the call ahead of the likes of Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler.
Dustin Johnson (Age 36)
(Ryder Cup Apps 1, Ryder Cup Record W1 L3 H0, World Ranking 12, Major Titles 0)
Another of Davis Love III’s wild card picks and it is easy to understand why. With Medinah likely to be set up to reward the long hitters, the vast distances Johnson hits the ball from the tee will suit the native of South Carolina. Johnson has had some terrible luck in Majors in the past and will hope to improve on his modest Ryder Cup record this year on a course that seems ideally suited to his power game.
Zach Johnson (Age 36)
(Ryder Cup Apps 2, Ryder Cup Record W7 L3 H1, World Ranking 16, Major Titles 1)
All successful Ryder Cup teams need a player who can grind out results even if things are not going that well and the United States have that precisely in Zach Johnson. The other Johnson in the American team is a model of consistency who develops a meticulous plan in his head and will stick to it. In 2007, when he won the Masters, Johnson achieved that by not attempting to reach any par 5 hole in two all week. It is that level of planning and precision that may be required at Medinah.
Matt Kuchar (Age 34)
(Ryder Cup Apps 1, Ryder Cup Record W1 L1 H2, World Ranking 14, Major Titles 0)
One of the most likeable players on the US PGA Tour and a former US Amateur Champion, Kuchar has tasted success this season at the ‘Fifth Major’ the Players Championship in May and previous to that, he combined well with Gary Woodland to give America victory in the Golf World Cup. With plenty of experience in the Presidents Cup, Kuchar will be keen to improve his Ryder Cup record on home soil. A consistent, accurate and long hitter of the golf ball.
Phil Mickelson (Age 42)
(Ryder Cup Apps 8, Ryder Cup Record W11 L17 H6, World Ranking 15, Major Titles 4)
For many people, Mickelson’s tally of four majors is scant reward for the talent he possesses with a club in his hand. HAs their been a better practitioner around the green than the San Diego born Mickelson? This year he will become the most capped American in the event with his 9th appearance. His skills and experience will be vital for an inexperienced American side, but his Ryder Cup record is not that great.
Webb Simpson (Age 27)
(Ryder Cup Apps 0, Ryder Cup Record W0 L0 H0, World Ranking 6, Major Titles 1)
Simpson’s shock US Open win this year propelled him into Ryder Cup contention and the North Carolina native has maintained his place in the team since. A consistent golfer who only just finished second to Luke Donald on the US Money List last year and who enjoyed great success with teammate Dustin Johnson in the 2008 Walker Cup against a GB and Ireland team that featured Rory McIlroy.
Brandt Snedeker (Age 31)
(Ryder Cup Apps 0, Ryder Cup Record W0 L0 H0, World Ranking 19, Major Titles 0)
The Tennessean first made the headlines in 2004, when he qualified for the US Masters after winning the US Publics Links Championship. Rookie of the year in 2007, he has finished third in the Masters in 2008 and also in this years British Open after an incredible opening 36 holes of 66 and 64. A winner on the tour this year, Snedeker is recognised by his fellow pro’s as one of the best clutch putters in the game, which may well be a huge bonus for the US team.
Steve Stricker (Age 45)
(Ryder Cup Apps 2, Ryder Cup Record W3 L3 H1, World Ranking 11, Major Titles 0)
In 2004, it looked like Steve Stricker’s career was over as he lost his tour card but he has rededicated himself to the game and reached World Number 2 and a place in the Ryder Cup team in 2008. Solid, consistent and a model professional, Stricker has also been one of the few American players to thrive when paired with Tiger Woods as they were unbeaten in the 2009 Presidents Cup and then top scored for the US Team at Celtic Manor earning 3 points from 4.
Bubba Watson (Age 34)
(Ryder Cup Apps 1, Ryder Cup Record W1 L3 H0, World Ranking 8, Major Titles 1)
Won this years Masters in dramatic fashion and his unconventional style and swing have made him one of the iconic players on the US Tour. He has played particularly well with Webb Simpson in the past, notably in the 2011 Presidents Cup and his distance from the tee will be a huge advantage at Medinah in a course that is likely to suit long, accurate hitters of the golf ball.
Tiger Woods (Age 36)
(Ryder Cup Apps 6, Ryder Cup Record W13 L14 H2, World Ranking 2, Major Titles 14)
It is strange to think that in a career typefied by success, Tiger Woods has only ever once won the Ryder Cup as part of the successful 1999 team at Brookline. He’ll be the anchor man of the American team and likely to play in all five sessions, unless Davis Love III fears burnout. Back to his best after a difficult few years, on his day Woods is almost unplayable, but nerves have got to him in the past in team events and it will be interesting to see how he fares this year.
Pictures courtesy of Gorilla Golf Blog, Ping & Ryder Cup Facebook Pages