Ryder Cup Report, Part 1Thursday, March 13, 2014
To put a bow on it, it’s almost inconceivable that BOTH Kuchar and Mahan are off the team, but that’s how it plays out under this scenario. Mahan has a history of fading late in Ryder Cup years, assumingly putting way too much pressure on himself to play well and make the team, only to see the opposite occur. Kuchar may require more than just his usual string of top-10 finishes to push his way through. He’ll need a win or two.
The strategy above is also relying on the importance of previously successful pairings remaining together like Z. Johnson/Dufner, B. Watson/Simpson and Mickelson/Bradley. If ZJ and Dufner both fail to make the team on points, it potentially opens up two spots, not one. If Bradley isn’t hot late, but Kuchar is, there’s nothing stopping Mickelson from taking Reed under his wing and Kuchar from teaming up with Walker.
The inclusion of the fall events is having a tangible impact on the race to Gleneagles. It could be the difference in Harris English making the team or missing. It's why DJ and Walker are locks. The guys who wind up on the wrong side of a Tom Watson phone call later this year could rue the decision to skip those events, if indeed he did.
As for the Team Europe, standings for the Ryder Cup are pulled from two different lists -- the World Points List and the European Points Lists. Yes, it’s about as confusing as the metric system. The top four players on the European Points List are automatically in, and then the top five players on the World Points List not already exempt via the European Points List are in. Following that, Paul McGinley rounds out the team with three picks.
The top four on the European Points List are Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Thomas Bjorn and Ian Poulter. The five on the World Points List not otherwise exempt from the European Points List are Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Gallacher and Joost Luiten. Under this scenario, it would seem likely that Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell would be the favorites for captain picks. Sorry Westy.