NEW YORK – Captain Davis Love III went with experience for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, picking Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker on Tuesday but adding Brandt Snedeker for his first cup team as a professional.
In an announcement at the NASDAQ market site in Times Square, Love picked three players – Furyk (7), Johnson (1) and Stricker (2) – who have competed in a total of 10 U.S. Ryder Cups against the Europeans. Furyk and Stricker have experienced victory and defeat, having played in the past two cups, a U.S. loss in Wales in 2010 and a victory at Valhalla in 2008.
Johnson experienced the wet conditions of Wales and a loss in his only Ryder Cup appearance. However, his performance during the past two weeks of the Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, in which he tied for third at The Barclays and tied for fourth at the Deutsche Bank Championship, that seemed to sway Love in the big hitter’s direction.
The combined record of Furyk, Johnson and Stricker in Ryder Cup competition is 12-21-5.
Among them, the trio recorded two Tour victories in 2012 (Stricker at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Johnson at the FedEx St. Jude Classic) but also had some famous collapses, notably when Furyk took the 54-hole lead into the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and failed to finish it off.
Snedeker, 31, has never played on a Ryder or Presidents cup team and was not believed to be on the initial short list that included Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Furyk and Stricker.
Snedeker, who won early in the season at the Farmers Insurance Open, finished 13th in the final Ryder Cup points standings after missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
But Snedeker, who ranks first on Tour in the strokes gained-putting category, has had a strong run in the past three weeks – T-28 at the Wyndham Championship, second at The Barclays and sixth at last week’s Deutsche Bank – to win Love’s attention.
Snedeker, No. 18 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the 10th-highest-ranked American.
The 39th Ryder Cup matches will be played Sept. 28-30 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club’s No. 3 course near Chicago.
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The 2012 Ryder Cup teams
U.S.: (qualifiers) Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, (captain’s picks) Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker.
Europe: (qualifiers) Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, (captain’s picks) Nicolas Colsaerts, Ian Poulter
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Bios of U.S. wild-card selections
• Official World Golf Ranking: 31
• Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking:: 14
• Recent finishes: T-42, PGA Championship; MC, The Barclays; T-13, Deutsche Bank Championship
• By the numbers: Driving distance (280.1 yards, 174th); Driving accuracy (70.1%, 5th); Greens in regulation (66.5%, 40th); Strokes gained-putting (.457, 24th)
• The skinny: Love likes Furyk for his experience and compatibility. “You can put him with anybody,” Love said after the PGA Championship. Furyk has represented the United States in every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup since 1997; he was 5-0-0 in the United States’ victory at last year’s Presidents Cup. His Ryder Cup record is an uninspiring 8-15-4, though that’s mostly due to an abysmal 1-8-1 four-balls record. Furyk hasn’t won in 2012, but had close calls at the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. One can look at those events as evidence of his good form, or as proof that he’s having trouble handling pressure. Furyk was tied for the lead when he bogeyed two of the final three holes at Olympic Club. He had a one-shot lead on the 72nd hole at Firestone, but made double-bogey to finish one shot behind Keegan Bradley.
• Ryder Cup record: 8-15-4
• Singles record: 4-2-1
• Foursomes record: 3-5-2
• Four-balls record: 1-8-1
• International teams: Ryder Cup (7), 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010; The Presidents Cup (7), 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011; World Cup (1), 2003.
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• Official World Golf Ranking: 16
• Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking:: 25
• Recent finishes: T-48, PGA Championship; T-3, The Barclays; T-4, Deutsche Bank Championship
• By the numbers: Driving distance (309.5 yards, 7th); Driving accuracy (56.3%, 157th); Greens in regulation (64.3%, 95th); Strokes gained-putting (.160, 69th)
• The skinny: Johnson was one of the top contenders for a captain’s pick after the PGA Championship, then made a strong case for his selection with top-4 finishes in the first two FedEx Cup playoff events. Johnson’s length will be an asset at Medinah, a big course where Johnson will be able to use his length. “I’m not a fan, as my son says, of deep rough,” Love said. “So we won’t have really, really deep rough.” Johnson has a combined 2-6-1 record in his two international appearances as a professional (2010 Ryder Cup, 2011 Presidents Cup), but his recent play may be strong enough for Love to overlook that blemish.
• Ryder Cup record: 1-3-0
• Singles record: 1-0-0
• Foursomes: 0-1-0
• Four-balls: 0-2-0
• International teams: Ryder Cup (1), 2010; The Presidents Cup (1), 2011; Walker Cup (1), 2007; Palmer Cup (1), 2007.
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• Official World Golf Ranking: 20
• Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking:: 24
• Recent finishes: MC, PGA Championship; T-28, Wyndham Championship; 2nd, The Barclays; 6th, Deutsche Bank Championship
• By the numbers: Driving distance (288.3 yards, 108th); Driving accuracy (59.2%, 118th); Greens in regulation (62.9%, 131st); Strokes gained-putting (.850, 1st)
• The skinny: Snedeker was on the fringes of the Ryder Cup conversation after the PGA Championship, but forced his way to the front and center with good play at Bethpage Black and TPC Boston. Snedeker’s putting – he leads the Tour in strokes gained-putting – will be a big help for the United States. The biggest issue for any rookie is how well they can handle the pressure. Being a captain’s pick is sweet justice for Snedeker, though. He was a controversial omission from the 2003 Walker Cup team.
• Ryder Cup record: None
• International teams: World Cup (1), 2008; USA vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship (1), 2002.
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• Official World Golf Ranking: 10
• Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking:: 7
• Recent finishes: T-7, PGA Championship; T-54, The Barclays; T-13, Deutsche Bank.
• By the numbers: Driving distance (284.1 yards, 155th); Driving accuracy (63.2%, 58th); Greens in regulation (67.3%, 22nd); Strokes gained-putting (.181, 64th)
• The skinny: Stricker, 45, didn’t had to sweat out his spot on this team. Davis Love III has made it very clear since the PGA Championship that Stricker will be at Medinah. Love likes the 12-time PGA Tour winner because he’s a preferred partner of Tiger Woods. Stricker’s strong putting, consistent play and local ties also will be beneficial to the U.S. squad. He’s finished in the top-25 in 10 of 16 starts this year and missed just one cut. He won this year’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions and was runner-up at the recent WGC-Bridgestone before adding a second consecutive top-10 at the PGA Championship. Stricker is a University of Illinois alum, so there’s a good chance we’ll see some orange-and-blue among the U.S. fans outside Chicago.
• Ryder Cup record: 3-3-1
• Singles record: 1-1-0
• Foursomes record: 1-1-0
• Four-balls record: 1-1-1
• International teams: Ryder Cup (2), 2008, 2010; The Presidents Cup (4), 1996, 2007, 2009, 2011; Dunhill Cup (1), 1996.
– Statistics as of Sept. 2, 2012