Stricker and Furyk look good bets for US wild cards
davis Love III is set to end speculation – if not debate – over the final make-up of the United States Ryder Cup team by naming his four wild-card picks.
The US captain has the unenviable task today of narrowing down a shortlist of up to eight of the world’s leading players for the match against Europe at Medinah later this month.
With various players rating highly over matters such as form, results, experience and team computability, Love is facing one of the toughest selection decisions of any US skipper in recent times.
Chief among his considerations might be the issue of experience, meaning veterans Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker could be uppermost in his thoughts.
The US already boast Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who have made 14 appearances between them, in their team, but also among their automatic qualifiers are three rookies.
Love may feel 42-year-old Furyk, who has played at seven Ryder Cups, and 45-year-old Stricker, a two-time attendee, could offer much to the likes of first-timers Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson.
Stricker and Furyk have both partnered Woods in the past and went close to automatic qualification themselves, finishing 10th and 11th on the list respectively.
Finishing ninth was Hunter Mahan but such was the tightness of the competition that Bo Van Pelt, who ended 14th, could have muscled his way in automatically but for a poor final round at last month’s USPGA Championship.
Both will have exercised Love’s thoughts but so, too, will 23-year-old Rickie Fowler, a debutant at Celtic Manor in 2010, and 31-year-old Brandt Snedeker, who finished tied third at this year’s Open.
In terms of form, Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney might have timed their runs perfectly.Having recovered from a back injury earlier in the year, long-hitting Johnson has earned two top-10 finishes in his past four tournaments prior to the ongoing Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
Watney finished 30th on the qualifying list but powered his way into contention by winning The Barclays at Bethpage Black, New York, last week.
Love, who himself played in six Ryder Cups, was set to run the final rule over the contenders during the closing round of the Deutsche Bank event.
South African Louis Oosthuizen took a three-shot lead into that after he replaced Rory McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard with a third-round 63 at TPC Boston on Sunday.
Oosthuizen began the day one shot behind playing partner McIlroy but the 2010 Open champion birdied seven holes in a row from the fourth as he moved to 19-under.
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