World No. 9 Rickie Fowler finished 11th in automatic qualifying and had to rely on a Captain's Pick to make his third Ryder Cup appearance (2010, 2014), still searching for his first full-point match win.
The 27-year-old backed up his career best and two-win TOUR season in 2015 -- where he finished 4th in FedExCup points -- with no wins in 2016 and 31st in the FEC standings, failing to advance to the TOUR Championship. In his last 11 starts, he mustered just two top 10s, missed three cuts, posted five finishes of 30th-place or worse, and was T37 (of 59 players) at the Rio Olympics, with one sub-par round. Fowler was also eliminated in the Group Stage at the WGC-Dell Match Play with an 0-1-2 record. He's 0-3-5 as a Ryder Cupper, including 0-2-3 in 2014 at Gleneagles, and went 1-3-0 as a Presidents Cup rookie in 2015 where he lost his final three matches, lowlighted by a 6 & 5 drubbing to Adam Scott in singles.
Chris Wood will make his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota later this week.
The 6'6" Englishman's first experience of professional team golf was spectacular as he earned 4.5 points from 5 in the 2009 Seve Trophy. It seemed to back up the notion – following back-to-back top fives in the Open, one as an amateur – that he was bound for the Ryder Cup team. It's taken longer than expected, but he's earned it. Key to his qualification was victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, a breakthrough which he claimed thanks to a stunning front nine of 29 shots which permitted him to make a few mistakes in closing out. A strong defence of his Lyoness Open (T6) followed two weeks later, then T11 in the Open de France. But a ricked neck ruined his participation in the Open and he's treaded water somewhat since, with his T20 at the Italian Open last time out his best stroke play finish. Won two, lost one under Darren Clarke's captaincy at this year's EurAsia Cup. Will be a slight concern that he is 0-5 in the WGC World Match Play.
Danny Willett will want to reverse his experience of taking on America, after a lacklustre effort in the 2007 Walker Cup, when he tees it up in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
Always touted as an amateur, and then a young pro, Willett's career progress accelerated in late 2014 with victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge which helped him claim the #2 spot in the 2015 Race to Dubai. Victory in this year's Dubai Desert Classic increased his speed and he was really racing when he claimed the Masters in April. With his life changed he continued to play well in patches all summer, but lost the ability to string 4 rounds together. However he heads to his Ryder Cup debut with improving form: T79-T37-T12-2. Third in the 2015 WGC World Match Play, he owns an impressive 8-2-1 record across all individual match play. Claimed 2 half points from 4 matches when a competitor in the storied 2007 Walker Cup match (others there include McIlroy, Fowler, Horschel, Simpson and Dustin Johnson). Likely to have to deal with a few catcalls after his brother wrote a clumsy article that will have distracted his preparation at the very least.
Lee Westwood has competed in very nearly one quarter of all Ryder Cups: this year at Hazeltine National Golf Club is his tenth start in the 41st match-up.
When given the nod by his best friend and captain Darren Clarke, having failed to qualify by right, it confirmed a tenth straight appearance for the Englishman who stands on the brink of becoming Europe's greatest accumulator of points (he has 23 points, Nick Faldo leads on 25). Given such long term strength it's interesting that he has only twice been Europe's top scorer, and he jointly held that spot on both occasions. One reason is a weakness in the singles (3-6-0) which might be explained by the extent to which he is used on the first two days. Strong in fourballs (8-5-2) he is gun in foursomes (9-4-4). In singles match play, across all events, he is 34-31-1 whereas in partnership with others he maintains the Ryder Cup record, going a remarkable 31-13-7 (.68%). The highlight of his year was T2 in the Masters and yet it was a bit typical too: he had the same chance Danny Willett was offered on the 16th tee (of victory) and Westwood, serial non-major winner, didn't take it.
World No. 16 Jimmy Walker is at Hazeltine National Golf Club making final preparations for his third consecutive U.S. National Team appearance and second straight Ryder Cup.
The 6-time PGA TOUR winner finished 5th in automatic qualifying and concluded the 2015-16 TOUR season with five top 10s in 25 starts, highlighted by his first major title at the PGA Championship (in 18th career major start), where he took down the strongest field ever assembled in the history of the OWGR. He went 1-1-3 as a Ryder Cup rookie in 2014, going 0-1-3 while paired with Rickie Fowler and winning his singles match (3 & 2) over Lee Westwood. The 37-year-old posted a 1-3-0 record as a rookie at the 2015 Presidents Cup, winning his lone point in foursomes with Fowler, but, the duo lost in four-balls and he was also trounced in four-balls (6 & 5) while paired with Chris Kirk. Walker's last (and latest) match resulted in a 2 UP loss to Steven Bowditch in singles so he enters off a 3-match losing streak in team competition.
Andy Sullivan heads to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club, his third international team match, having only ever tasted victory.
The Englishman was a member of the successful 2011 Walker Cup team and, earlier this year, impressed competing for Darren Clarke in the EurAsia Cup. Sullivan won both of his foursomes in the former, but lost both singles (including a 3&2 defeat by Jordan Spieth; word has it he's keen on a re-match, hinting at a strong and positive attitude). In the latter he claimed three victories, including a 4&3 downing of Thongchai Jaidee. His qualification for the team is largely due to a superb 2015, but he has formed a bond with Rory McIlroy and came second to him at last year's DP World Tour Championshp. He has a 3-3 record in two WGC World Match Play appearances and is relatively inexperienced in the majors (seven starts in the last two years; best of T12 at this year's Open). His form slipped in late summer but he did arrest a hat-trick of missed cuts heading into this week with a T20 at the Italian Open.
Henrik Stenson will tee it up at the Hazeltine National Golf Club-hosted 2016 Ryder Cup having nursed his knee injury through the last few weeks.
The 40-year-old's major championship breakthrough at the Open Championship seemed ready to herald a barn-storming finale for the year. Alas that lingering knee injury has hampered his progress, causing him to mollycoddle the problem through the FedEx Cup play-offs with this week in mind. His summer run of T4-WD-1-T13-T17-2, including victory in the BMW International Open and Open, plus silver in the Olympics, became WD-T41 in the play-offs, which has to be a concern. He'll return to the course with fond memories of finishing T6 in the 2009 PGA Championship, when he ranked second for Total Accuracy. He was undefeated playing alongside Justin Rose at Gleneagles in 2014 and there is plenty of talk of the partnership being reestablished. At his best, brilliant, but oddly subdued in Ryder Cup singles, losing two of three (in contrast his entire individual match play record reads 24-18-5, including victory in the 2007 WGC World Match Play).
Justin Rose is one of Europe's finest-ever Ryder Cup performers and he heads to Hazeltine National Golf Club on a gold-leaved high.
The Englishman's .71% record is second only to his good friend Ian Poulter in European history (minimum three starts) and with the latter riding a buggy this week Rose could move ahead of him. He will need to maintain very high standards however, because to attain that figure he has lost just thrice in 14 matches (with two halves). He captured three points in partnership with Henrik Stenson two years ago and Darren Clarke faces a question: is that duo kept together or will the need to support the rookies lead to those strengths being spread across the board? Rose's memories of the last Ryder Cup on US soil will be nothing but good: he holed two career putts on 17 and 18 to topple Phil Mickelson and his current form boasts the Olympic gold. He missed the cut at the RTJ-designed Hazeltine National in 2009, but is a winner at RTJ's Valderrama. Undefeated in Ryder Cup singles.