Spoilt for choice
Butch Harmon says US captain Davis Love III has a wealth of options for his Ryder Cup picks.
Last Updated: 31/08/12 4:04pm
USA captain Davis Love III will announce his team for the 2012 Ryder Cup on Tuesday, with four wildcard picks joning the eight automatic qualifiers.
Here Sky Sports expert Butch Harmon gives his view on who Love III should choose for September's showdown at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois...
"A couple of weeks ago it would have been a simple judgement from just looking down the points list from 9 to 12," he said. "But since then things have changed. "Nick Watney winning, and Brandt Snedeker finishing second, at the first Fed Ex play-off event has changed things.
"I think the only one that would be a definite pick is Steve Stricker as he's a perfect pairing with Tiger Woods. Hunter Mahan has not done well recently, so I'm not sure, unless he plays well this week at the Deutsche Bank, whether he will be picked at all.
Then you go to Jim Furyk, who everyone has talked about being a certain pick because of the fact he is a Ryder Cup veteran, but I'm not sure that that will be the case as Furyk's record in the Ryder Cup is not all that sterling and Davis Love III may choose some of the younger players who are playing really well.
"Rickie Fowler's name has been thrown in there and I think for the main reason that he did so well at Celtic Manor, where he won the last four holes to halve his singles match (with Edoardo Molinari) and at least give America a chance. He is also good friends with Bubba Watson and they as a pair make a good combination.
"We also have Dustin Johnson, who has come back after three months off and came third last week. He and Snedeker are great choices, either one of them. Snedeker being a great putter, which is what you want to have in the Ryder Cup, and Johnson as a long hitter, and I think Love will set up the course to favour long hitters so I think Johnson could be a wonderful pick.
"So Love has a lot of options on the horizon and even Watney, who won last week but really wasn't in the mix before, if he finishes top four or five this week he will have to be looked at."
Harmon belives the fact American skipper Love III has four wildcard picks as opposed to European counterpart Jose Maria Olazabal's two gives him an advantage, but he says the 1997 US PGA Champion must make sure he chooses characters that can fit seamlessly into the team.
"For me, Ollie's (Olazabal's) choices were pretty easy; Nicolas Colsaerts and Ian Poulter were who everyone thought he would pick and so it turned out, " added Harmon.
"However, I think any captain would say that they would rather have four picks than two picks; that's pretty obvious. The US changed the system two years ago to give them four wildcards and I think it's a great asset.
"It is very important that Love makes sure his four picks can mesh with the other eight players already on the team, and that doesn't always necessarily mean going with veterans. Bringing the younger players into the mix is good to keep up the enthusiasm. It's going to be very interesting to see who he picks."