Davis Love III didn’t do much gambling in naming three of his four wildcard spots for the upcoming 2016 Ryder Cup.
Love added Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes, and Matt Kuchar to the team on Monday. One final selection will be made in two weeks. Speculation leans towards Bubba Watson, a veteran of the Ryder Cup and the seventh-ranked player in the world.
Fowler is a controversial pick because he can’t seem to win in international competition, sporting a woeful 0-3-5 record in the Ryder Cup. The US has lost the last three Ryder Cups and eight of the last 10.
Love had a conference with his vice-captains: Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, and Tiger Woods, before making the decision.
“There were questions as late as last night,” Love told the media. “We went through a lot of scenarios. We talked about a lot of great players. It was a very, very tough decision. We kept coming back to three for now.”
Watson is the next man up in terms of Ryder Cup points, finishing ninth (The top eight are in automatically). But the two-time Masters champion hasn’t finished in a Top 10 since March
Holmes, Fowler, and Kuchar finished 10th, 11th, and 12th respectively in Ryder Cup points. Kuchar made a strong case with his bronze medal at the Summer Olympics; Fowler is a very popular teammate; and Holmes made his case with a tie for fourth at the BMW Championships on Sunday.
Love, who also coached the US team in 2012, replaces Tom Watson, who failed to deliver a title in 2014, and who was criticized internally by Mickelson after the defeat was complete.
Lefty doesn’t think this year will be any easier.
We still have to play great golf to win,” Mickelson said. “We’re still playing an incredibly talented team that has great players and shoots great scores. The difference is we’re being put in a position to succeed. Because we’re going in there with a proper game plan and given every opportunity to play our best golf.”