With less than a month to the start of the 2012 Ryder Cup, both European skipper Jose Maria Olazabal and American counterpart Davis Love III have finalised their squads, naming their wildcard picks over the last couple of weeks and the world of golf is now eagerly awaiting what promises to be an incredible battle between Europe and the US.
It was Europe who finalised their squad first of all, with captain Olazabal’s two wildcard picks going to Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts. Much was made of the omission of Padraig Harrington from Olly’s choice, but in truth the Irishman hasn’t shown enough sustained form over the last 12 months to warrant inclusion.
Then last weekend, at the home of the New York Stock Exchange, Davis Love III announced his wildcard picks for the final four places in the US Team, with Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk getting the nod ahead of the likes of Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan.
So, with those announcements in place, the final Ryder Cup squads for the clash in Medinah in the Chicago suburbs are:
Captain : Davis Love III
Team: Webb Simpson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.
Captain: Jose-Maria Olazabal
Team: Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Peter Hanson, Graeme McDowell, Francsco Molinari, Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Justin Rose, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ian Poulter
There has already been a large amount of discussion about each team, but one thing is for certain, with all the players participating in the event being ranked inside the world’s top 36, it is likely to be one of the highest quality Ryder Cup events in many a year.
Most experts in the US are happy with the captain’s picks made by David Love III. It has been pointed out that prodigious length from the tee will be a bonus around the beautiful Medinah course (below) and that means the American team, with the likes of Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson included, should find they have an advantage here.
Yet there has been consternation over the selection of Jim Furyk. The likeable American has proven to be a superb team player in recent years, but his points record at Ryder Cups, of eight wins and 15 losses is not the best and he does lack the distance from the tee of many of his counterparts.
Other than the issue surrounding the omission of Padraig Harrington, Jose-Maria Olazabal’s team pretty much picked itself over the course of the qualification period. The likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell were always likely to anchor the team and they’ve been supplemented with several top quality players from across Europe.
Ian Poulter’s superb form in the last Ryder Cup, allied to improved form on the tour and Nicolas Colsaerts length from the tee and good form on the European Tour also made Olly’s picks a relatively straightforward task.
With emotions running high and golfers getting the chance to represent their home continent, it is sure to be a hard-fought battle and one which will have the eyes of the world glued to events over the three days of intense golfing action.
(Pictures Courtesy of Team USA & Team GB Ryder Cup Facebook Pages)