Ryder Cup: Meet the 12-man U.S. squad

The 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup squad at Medinah Country Club.

The 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup squad at Medinah Country Club.

MEDINAH, Ill. -- The United States Ryder Cup squad will feature a handful of rookies and a number of veterans as they attempt to grab the title back from the European squad.

Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson are all making their first appearance for the U.S., while Phil Mickelson (8 apperances), Jim Furyk (7) and Tiger Woods (6) are the elder statesmen for the squad.

There are six players in their 30s on the U.S. squad, with three in their 40s (Steve Stricker is oldest at 45) and three in their 20s (Bradley is youngest at 26).

Davis Love III is the captain for the U.S. and will be assisted by Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman and Scott Verplank.

Here is a player-by-player look at the U.S. squad, including their records in previous Ryder Cups and history at Medinah for the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships.

• • •

photo

Keegan Bradley

Age: 26

Years Played: First appearance

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Bradley, No. 11 on the PGA Tour in total driving, is well-suited for Medinah’s big ballpark. He’s a rookie, but as he’s showed several times in his brief career, he handles the nerves well.

• • •

photo

Jason Dufner

Age: 35

Years Played: First appearance

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Dufner, another American rookie, has the ballstriking skills to be a good foursomes partner. He’s fourth on Tour in both greens in regulation and total driving. Maybe the Ryder Cup’s electric atmosphere can even elicit some emotion from this flat-liner.

• • •

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Jim Furyk

Age: 42

Years Played: 1997-99-2002-04-06-08-10

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 8-15-4

Singles (W-L-H): 4-2-1

Foursomes (W-L-H): 3-5-2

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-8-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: T-8

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-29

The skinny: Furyk, one of Davis Love’s four captain’s selections, has been on every American team since 1997. His steady play is useful in foursomes, but it seems that Love would be wise to sit him for four-balls.

• • •

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Dustin Johnson

Age: 28

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 1-3-0

Singles (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 0-2-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: There’s big expectations for Johnson this week. He’s coming off a successful FedEx Cup, finishing in the top-10 in all four events. Medinah’s length and lack of rough should allow him to let loose with the driver, as well.

• • •

photo

Zach Johnson

Age: 36

Years Played: 2006, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-3-1

Singles (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-2-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: MC

The skinny: His 3-3-1 record is worth mentioning, considering he played on two losing teams, including the 2006 team that was routed at the K Club. Johnson seems like an ideal foursomes partner.

• • •

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Matt Kuchar

Age: 34

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 1-1-2

Singles (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-0-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 0-0-2

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Kuchar, the 2012 Players champion, is known as Mr. Consistent. He’s only missed one cut this season. His game, built around a strong short game and putter, is perfect for foursomes, but he’s not in top form. His 10th-place finish in the 30-man Tour Championship was his only top-30 finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He’s also struggled in international competitions, going 1-3-1 in last year’s Presidents Cup as well.

• • •

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Phil Mickelson

Age: 42

Years Played: 1995-97-99-2002-04-06-08-10

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 11-17-6

Singles (W-L-H): 4-4-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 2-5-4

Fourballs (W-L-H): 5-8-2

Finish at 1999 PGA: T-57

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-16

The skinny: Mickelson seems to have found something with this “claw” grip, posting two top-5 finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs. And no one will like Medinah’s lack of rough more than Mickelson. Mickelson was 3-1-0 in last year’s Presidents Cup. One would think he’ll be paired with good friend Keegan Bradley at some point this week.

• • •

photo

Brandt Snedeker

Age: 31

Years Played: First appearance

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Snedeker’s a rookie, but also one of the hottest players on the planet. These are going to be two tiring weeks for him, though. He’s coming off an $11-million victory. Now he’s playing in an event that doesn’t offer prize money, but is unrivaled in its emotions. He finished sixth or better in three FedEx Cup playoff events.

• • •

photo

Webb Simpson

Age: 27

Years Played: First appearance

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: It’s been a busy year for Simpson, who won his first major and celebrated the birth of his second child. This is his first Ryder Cup, but he went 3-2-0 at last year’s Presidents Cup, good preparation for this week. Simpson finished fifth at last week’s Tour Championship, including a final-round 66. It was his first top-10 since early July and best finish since his U.S. Open victory.

• • •

photo

Steve Stricker

Age: 45

Years Played: 2008, 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 3-3-1

Singles (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-1-1

Finish at 1999 PGA: MC

Finish at 2006 PGA: T-7

The skinny: Stricker’s flatstick will be an important asset for Team USA this week. He was one of Davis Love’s captain’s picks for good reason: he’s a preferred partner of Tiger Woods. He was 22nd last week in the 30-man Tour Championship, closing with three consecutive 73s. Stricker, a University of Illinois alum, will be a fan favorite this week.

• • •

photo

Bubba Watson

Age: 33

Years Played: 2010

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 1-3-0

Singles (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-1-0

Fourballs (W-L-H): 1-1-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: N/A

Finish at 2006 PGA: N/A

The skinny: Long hitters are supposed to thrive at Medinah. Watson, the Masters champion, is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Tour Championship. Look for Watson and Webb Simpson to be paired together at some point this week.

• • •

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Tiger Woods

Age: 36

Years Played: 1997-99-2002-04-06-10

Career Ryder Cup Record (W-L-H): 13-14-2

Singles (W-L-H): 4-1-1

Foursomes (W-L-H): 4-7-1

Fourballs (W-L-H): 5-6-0

Finish at 1999 PGA: Won

Finish at 2006 PGA: Won

The skinny: Woods returns to a course where he’s undefeated as a professional. He was 3-1-0 at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Woods has won three times this season, but also has struggled on the weekend of the biggest tournaments, leading one to wonder how he’ll do at golf’s most pressure-packed week.

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