Altvater: Ryder Cup teams are now completeWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
European Team Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley and U.S. Team Captain Tom Watson recently made their final three picks to complete their 12-man rosters.
McGinley’s European Team will enter the Ryder Cup at the end of September as a heavy favorite having won seven of the last nine matches.
His final picks included Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and a new name, Stephen Gallacher.
Gallacher, from Scotland, won consecutive Omega Dubai Desert Classics in 2013-14 and has had a very good season on the European Tour. Top-10 finishes at the last two European Tour events, the Czech Masters and the Italian Open, cemented Gallacher’s choice as a captain’s pick.
McGinley chose Gallacher over a Luke Donald, who has been a Ryder Cup stalwart on past European Ryder Cup teams.
There was no drama in his other two picks.
Although Westwood has not had a successful year on the PGA Tour, he has been a member of eight previous European teams.
No one could image a Ryder Cup without Ian Poulter, who seems to don his cape and become Superman every two years when the Ryder Cup is contested.
With four of the top five ranked players in the world — Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose — on the team, plus the fact that the matches will be held at Gleneagles in Scotland, the Europeans seem to have an insurmountable advantage in this year’s competition.
Watson’s U.S. team had six contenders for his final three spots. Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Chris Kirk all missed earning sufficient point to qualify for the team.
Mahan won The Barclays and Kirk won the Deutsche Bank Championship to make a strong case for their inclusion on the team.
In the end, Watson chose experience by picking Bradley, Simpson and Mahan.
Bradley performed well as a partner for Phil Mickelson at Medinah in 2012. Simpson is best friends with Bubba Watson and makes a comfortable partner for the two-time Masters Champion.
Mahan earned his spot by winning the first FedEx Cup playoff tournament and can partner well with several others from the American team.
Perhaps the bigger story is who is not available to be on Team USA. Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson will all stay home and watch from the comfort of their couches. Their absence leaves a big hole for Captain Watson at Gleneagles.
For the first time, the Americans enter the Ryder Cup as the clear underdog.
Watson won five Open Championships and was the captain when the U.S. Team last won the Ryder Cup in Europe at the Belfry in 1993.
It will be interesting to see if the Americans will rally around their captain and bring home Samuel Ryder’s cup Sept. 28.
Fred Altvater offers golf tips and videos at www.toledoohiogolflessons.com. Email him at BackNine@toledofree press.com or follow him on Twitter @tolohgolfr.
Tags: Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Deutsche Bank Championship, Dusting Johnson, Fred Altvater, Gleneagles, Golf, Henrik Stenson, Hunter Mahan, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Masters, Open Championships, Paul McGinley, Phil Mickelson, randt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy, Ryan Moore, Ryder Cup, Samuel Ryder, Sergio Garcia, Stephen Gallacher, The Back Nine, The Barclays, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, U.S. Team Captain, Webb Simpson