Ryder Cup hopefuls await Pavin’s call
NORTON, Mass. – So, Corey Pavin asked Rickie Fowler for his travel schedule? Ah, ha. There’s a big clue, eh? Fowler is a leading candidate to be picked to help round out the U.S. Ryder Cup team, right?
Hold on Sherlock, because there’s something you should know.
Pavin, the U.S. captain who will name his four picks Tuesday morning, asked about a dozen players or so for their travel schedules. Heck, for all we know, Pavin asked for Scott Dunlap’s schedule, too. (If he did, we can assure you it involves a lot of travel.)
Anyway, Fowler knows Pavin has his cell phone number so he expects a call of some sort this evening. That is when the captain told players he’d phone them with whatever the news is, good or bad.
When asked who they would pick, two veteran Ryder Cuppers were in agreement: Fowler.
One of those players conceded that it bothered him that Fowler had never won and when he had a chance to do so earlier this season in Phoenix, “he laid up” on a par 5 coming home.
But the consensus is, Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, and Stewart Cink are virtual locks and that it’s the fourth spot that’s up for grabs. If there’s one thing making Pavin’s job easier, it’s this: Of the names in the mix – Fowler, Lucas Glover, Sean O’Hair, J.B. Holmes, Nick Watney, Ben Crane, maybe even Justin Leonard and Ryan Palmer – none have played so well that they could complain about being bypassed. In other words, this is not like the European situation a week ago, when two world-class players in great form, Paul Casey and Justin Rose, were not picked.
One small hiccup: Did Charley Hoffman’s impressive win at the Deutsche Bank Championship put him in the picture?
“I wasn’t in contention, but hopefully I am now,” Hoffman said.
Would he be disappointed if he weren’t picked? Hoffman smiled, having just won a $1.35 million prize and said he wouldn’t. Then again, “this is a very special day for me to win Deutsche Bank and if Mr. Pavin thinks I’m a good enough pick, I’d love to join the team.”
For his part, Fowler – after closing with a 1-under 70 in the fourth round of the Deutsche Bank Championship – didn’t seem overly nervous. Are the others?
Glover shrugged and indicated the matter was out of his hands. With six bogeys over an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his fourth round at TPC Boston, Glover closed with a 75 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and fell into a share of 65th. He’s had just one strong finish (T-3 in Greensboro) in his last 10 tournaments.
“If I don’t get (picked), I haven’t played well enough and I don’t deserve it,” Glover said.
Watney finished strong (68 to get to 5 under) and acknowledged that Pavin had his travel plans.
“I told him I’m flying to Chicago tonight and that I’ll have my phone on all night if he needs me,” Watney said.
Watney said he’s been surprised how “close to the vest” Pavin has been. And, no, he didn’t think Davis Love III, one of Pavin’s assistants and Watney’s playing competitor for the fourth round of the DBC, knew much, either.
“If he knows, I wouldn’t play poker with him,” Watney said, laughing.
As for the possibility of Holmes getting a second-straight Ryder Cup berth, some players raised their eyebrows. He played well in the fourth round (68 to get to 10 under) and would add another bomber to a lineup (Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jeff Overton) already loaded with them.
For the hoopla being tied into this final tournament before the Ryder Cup picks are made, Cink had to laugh.
He said anyone who thinks this tournament is a qualifier for that team, “especially today, is way off base.”
Could be he’s right.
But it sure is a fun storyline.