Hunter Mahan ‘hurting’ after Ryder Cup snub
THE omission of Hunter Mahan has provided the main talking point in the wake of Davis Love III, the American captain, revealing his four wild cards for the Ryder Cup at Medinah in just over three weeks’ time.
Mahan, who suffered a meltdown when losing to Graeme McDowell in the deciding match at Celtic Manor two years ago, has admitted he’s been left “feeling a little empty” after being overlooked in favour of Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Brandt Snedeker.
Jose Maria Olazabal, the European captain, also said he’d been surprised that his opposite number had not picked Mahan, who was ninth on the final US points list on Monday night, just one spot outside automatic selection for the biennial match.
Speaking in the Netherlands, where he is playing in this week’s KLM Open at Hilversum, the Spaniard said of Love’s selections: “They are very solid picks. All the American players from nine to 14 on the list were all very solid and Davis could have picked any four.
“The only question mark as I see it was Snedeker picked ahead of Mahan, but then Davis has gone for form. Snedeker has pretty much been playing well from the start of the summer and all the way to the FedEx Series. However, Mahan has not been playing all that well, so [Love] went for form and, in that regard, he has my respect.”
Mahan has won twice on the PGA Tour this season, including the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona in February, when he beat Rory McIlroy in the final.
He has been in the past five US teams for the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, but the 30-year-old may have paid the price for infamously fluffing a chip at the 17th as McDowell secured the winning point for Colin Montgomerie’s side at Celtic Manor.
“The Ryder Cup has been a goal for every American player, and it’s disappointing not to be a part of it,” Mahan admitted while preparing for this week’s BMW Championship in Carmel, Indiana. “I’ve been part of the last five [US] teams, so it hurts not to be a part of it. It feels a little empty right now.”
Faced with some tough wild card choices, Love also overlooked Rickie Fowler, a last-day winner in Wales, and Nick Watney, who staked his claim with an impressive victory in the Barclays Championship, the opening FedEx Cup play-off event.
Like them, Mahan had been hoping he’d done enough to join the eight automatic selections for the match in Illinois.
“It has been a good year. I’ve played pretty well,” added the Californian. “I think he [Love] stated he wanted Stricker and Furyk [as wild card picks], so there were really only two spots left. Brandt and Dustin just outplayed me at the end of the day. I just didn’t play good enough, and that’s OK. It’s OK to get beat by somebody. That’s part of golf, and that’s part of the game. But, like I say, it just feels empty right now.”
Meanwhile, Olazabal has denied that he asked to be paired with Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts, two members of his team, in the opening two rounds at Hilversum, where the action gets underway this morning.
Kaymer, who just held on to the last automatic spot, is hoping to boost his confidence after a poor run of form in the final few weeks of the qualifying campaign, while Colsaerts is making his first appearance since earning one of the Spaniard’s two wild cards.
“I had nothing to do with Nicolas and Martin playing alongside me,” said Olazabal.
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