Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson named Ryder Cup captain's picks

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Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson named Ryder Cup captain's picks

PGA Tour

Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson named Ryder Cup captain's picks

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team is just about set now, with Jim Furyk announcing Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as his first three captain’s picks during a Tuesday night press conference at the Philadelphia Marriott West.

He also announced the addition of vice-captains David Duval, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson. Woods was previously named a vice-captain but will focus on his playing role instead.

All three picks are competing in this week’s BMW Championship at nearby Aronimink Golf Club and joined Furyk in a red-and-blue splashed conference room with the matches at Le Golf National just three weeks away. The Ryder Cup will take place from Sept. 28-30.

“I think we have a lot of good options on the team and we still have options left that I’m excited about for next Monday,” Furyk said. “But Bryson separated himself from the field the last couple of weeks, for sure, and Tiger and Phil were, honestly, you’ve got 9, 10, 11 on the points list. Guys that had a great body of work, guys that are in great form right now, and Bryson put an exclamation points on things. Not that it was an easy decision, but it could have been a lot more difficult.”

Furyk will announce the final captain’s pick at 9 a.m. ET Monday morning to fill out the 12-man roster.

Here’s a look at how each player was able to earn a pick:

Bryson DeChambeau

The 24-year-old was already in the discussion before winning the first two FedExCup Playoffs events. That makes it three victories over the last three months, all of them in events with strong fields, so it’s not up for debate anymore.

He got plenty of attention as a rookie for all his talk of biomechanics and use of single-length irons, but it didn’t take long to prove his doubters wrong. The  2015 U.S. Amateur winner and NCAA champion is the hottest player in the world and a fierce competitor, peaking at the perfect time with the matches in Paris just three weeks away.

He found out about his selection when vice-captain Davis Love III texted him and said to call Furyk.

“There are some moments in life that are just too good to be true, and that was one of them,” DeChambeau said. “But it was true, and it was an honor that I’ll never forget. That will be locked away in my memory for a long time.”

DeChambeau ranks fourth in strokes gained total and completely turned his putting around this year. He’s currently ranked 36th on Tour after finishing  146th as a rookie. He also has an ideal partner in mind in Tiger Woods, who took DeChambeau under his wing this season. They’ve played numerous practice rounds together and DeChambeau rose to the occasion with an 8-under 63 while paired with Woods Sunday at TPC Boston.

“I think we could be a great team out there,” DeChambeau said. “Working hard and getting our job done and hopefully, maybe pushing the pedal to the metal and, I don’t really want to say it, but I think maybe we can potentially intimidate a couple of people out here. I think it would be kind of cool.”

Tiger Woods

How ’bout the fact that Woods started the year 666th in the World rankings and played his way onto an eighth Ryder Cup squad?

Woods was always going to be in Paris as a vice-captain, further entrenching himself in a U.S. squad he’ll certainly captain in the near future. It was hard for him to watch the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in a vice-captain role, but he embraced it anyways. Now he’s back in the ball game and seemingly a good fit to partner with nearly anyone on the roster.

“As the year progressed, I’ve kind of gained some traction, and was somehow able to get some high finishes and lo and behold, I’m a part of this team,” Woods said. “It’s incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and now to have accomplished a goal like that, to be a part of this team, and now to be a player is just – like I said, it’s beyond special.”

The playoffs haven’t gone as well as he hoped through two starts, with a T-40 at the Northern Trust and T-24 in Boston. Putting has been his biggest issue and one he’s definitely looking to turn around at the BMW. He’s wasted too many good ballstriking days lately and knows his game is close. Just needs to add a few hot putting days and keep doing what he’s doing tee to green.

Even if Woods doesn’t win this season, it’s been an incredible year. Getting a road win for the first time in 25 years with a bunch of young teammates he’s recently befriended would make for a great conclusion.

Phil Mickelson

Make it 12 consecutive appearances for Mickelson, who at age 48 enters the BMW ranked ninth in the FedEx Cup standings.

An 8-under 63 Sunday at TPC Boston led to a second straight top-15 finish and backed up some big words last week when he said he was going to make it an easy decision for Furyk. It probably was anyways given Mickelson’s passion for this event. His intangibles in the team room meant Mickelson would always be the pick in a toss-up situation, but it never came down to that thanks to his strong playoff push.

This will be Mickelson’s team soon enough and in many ways already is after he verbally offed Tom Watson in 2014 to become the public voice of the U.S. squad.

Mickelson won the WGC-Mexico Championship to end a five-year victory drought and ranks second in strokes gained putting behind Jason Day. That means he’s the strongest eligible putter going into Paris and can score maybe his most satisfying experience yet with a road win at Le Golf National.

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