SAMMAMISH, Wash. – The top 10 reasons Fred Couples should be named to the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team:
No. 10: Because of a renewed enthusiasm for the game, he has fire in his belly.
No. 9: Because of a new and very effective putting style, he has a putter in his belly (well, a belly putter).
No. 7: Because two golfers in their 50s have done this before (51-year-old Raymond Floyd in 1993 and 50-year-old Jay Haas in 2004).
No. 6: Because, as arguably the most popular figure in all of golf, he will help attract even more fans to their television sets for the Ryder Cup.
No. 5: Because losing to a 50-year-old man would demoralize the Europeans.
No. 4: Because distance off the tee can intimidate many opponents and, according to Loren Roberts, “Freddie can still drive the ball 330 yards.”
No. 3: Because the Europeans will laugh at his funny golf shoes, with ridges but no spikes on the bottom, and lose concentration.
No. 2: Because he has more gray hair that captain Corey Pavin.
No. 1: Because he occasionally chunks wedge shots like the rest of us, and everybody can identify with him.
“I’m with you,” said U.S. Senior Open champion Bernhard Langer, when asked if Couples is worthy of a Ryder Cup berth. “I think Freddie has a very good chance to be picked for the Ryder Cup. If I was the American captain, he would definitely be on my short list, on the list that Corey should consider.
“His putting has gotten that much better, and that was always the part that was questionable. His putting is very solid. He’s certainly one of the best ballstrikers in America, no matter who you put him up against. He hits the ball very far, hits it very controlled. He can shape it left-to-right and right-to-left, and he’s a seasoned competitor.
“He’s not scared of pressure. He’s been in all these situations before, so I think Freddie would be a definite asset to the American Ryder Cup team.”
Don’t expect Couples to lobby for himself, because it’s not going to happen.
But the pick is realistic. This guy can still play with the best of them. Having Couples on the U.S. Ryder Cup team would create more international interest in the event, it would reinforce the notion that golf can be played for a lifetime, and it would puncture the perception of golf as a conservative, predictable, by-the-book game.
Every once in a while, golf needs to take a chance.