Paul McGinley believes Team USA are taking a “gamble” by leaving their last wild-card pick for the Ryder Cup until the 11th hour and also reckons a masterplan drawn up by a new task force could blow up in captain Davis Love’s face at Hazeltine next weekend.
The final selection for the 12-strong side is due to be made during half-time in the NFL game between Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears in Arlington, Texas, in the early hours of tomorrow morning, with world No.7 and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson believed to be battling two youngsters, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger.
“I’m really intrigued to see how the 12th pick works,” said McGinley, pictured, who led Europe to a 16½-11½ victory in the last match at Gleneagles two years ago, setting up the chance of an unprecedented fourth straight success in the 41st contest in Minnesota. “Making that pick at the 11th hour is something that’s never been seen in the Ryder Cup before. It’s a gamble to a large extent. You’re identifying the 12th player quite clearly and how is that player going to perform at the Ryder Cup? The pressure is going to be on that person.”
The decision to keep back Love’s last pick was made by a task force set up in the wake of eight defeats in ten matches and followed Billy Horschel missing out at Gleneagles despite winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
Love, who is getting a second chance after losing at Medinah four years ago, has made no secret of the fact that both vice-captain Tiger Woods and senior player Phil Mickelson have been heavily involved in USA’s decision-making. “Certainly, the players seem to be having a big say, but the other side of that is that there is a lot of pressure on them, and a lot of the players who are on that team were on that task force,” observed McGinley.
“They’ve taken control, they’ve taken ownership of this Ryder Cup, the PGA have facilitated them in pretty much anything they needed to get done, they’ve had the captain in place that they wanted, and it’s going to be interesting to see how that whole dynamic pans out, it really is.”