Colin Montgomerie believes that Bubba Watson could yet make the US Ryder Cup team but has questioned how he would react psychologically to being the last man picked.
The world No 7 and two-times Masters champion was overlooked by American skipper Davis Love on Monday as he made the first three of his four wildcard picks, with the final place to be decided next weekend after the climax of the FedEx Cup at East Lake.
The Ryder Cup at Hazeltine gets under way the following Friday. After JB Holmes, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler were added to the eight men already qualified for the American team, Montgomerie said he believes it will now be a shoot-out between Watson and the 23-year-old Justin Thomas at East Lake for the final spot.
“It’s a big decision picking JB Holmes ahead of Bubba,” said the Scot, who skippered Europe to Ryder Cup glory in 2012 after a glorious playing career in the tournament.
“We must remember that Bubba Watson is not in now but might yet be. But if he does get in he’ll be the very last man in, which is a difficult place to be.”
Watson has not enjoyed a stellar year but, at No 7 in the world rankings, he is the highest ranked player available to Love. However, question marks over the quirky Watson’s ability to gel as a playing partner and team-mate have been raised.
The 37-year-old Floridian was voted most unpopular player on the PGA Tour in a website poll last year and captain Love has made it clear that he will select players who are the “best fit” and not necessarily the most talented golfers.
Montgomerie added: “If picked [as a wildcard], you’d rather be one of three or four, not left to last, which is a difficult position for anyone to be in.
“It’s a big call. Watson is seventh in the world and it’s now all down to East Lake. Whoever wins between Justin Thomas and Bubba seems to be getting the nod. Even if Bubba was to make it in it is a big call in terms of his psychology. He would very much be the 12th man.”
Of the three men Love has selected, Kuchar is probably the most solid pick, coming off the back of an Olympic bronze medal in Rio. Fowler has failed to win any of his eight matches in two Ryder Cups, while Holmes has only made one previous team, albeit the last triumphant American side at Valhalla in 2008.
The trio join the already-qualified Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson in the American team.
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