Just this side of the Republican National Convention, a lone 48-year-old has to make a decision on running mates. Not the traditional running mates, but, when it comes to golf, this daunting decision is somewhat important to the American efforts on their own soil at the upcoming Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club near Chicago.
The captain with the conundrum is one Davis Love III. And so, the third has to pick four in one major fell swoop decision on Tueday, September 4. This is not just any foursome. He is going to pick the four players that did not qualify on their own to represent the United States at the Ryder Cup in September. This selection, or election depending on perspective, is pivotal, like balancing an egg on a broken golf tee.
Tuesday's with Morrie was a great book by Mitch Albom. Tuesday with Davis might be just as epic. Putting names in a hat is one way. Actually, putting names in the hat is the easy process. Here are some of the names in the hat: Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Bo Van Pelt.
There is a lot of posturing when it comes to picks, but isn't that a lot like a political party choosing a running mate? Any selection needs to be backed with a sleeve of reasons why that particular pick works for the team. Love III does not want to have to run interference or defend any selection. And, that is why the captain's picks usually become predictable. This year, the candidates have made it hard on their leader, because of recent results.
The Ryder Cup selection is about team golf and the best personalities for the whole. It becomes kind of like choosing breakfast. You need players that go together like ham and eggs. Err, like toast and coffee. It just is so simple that it becomes complex. Kind of like the watching Furyk swing.
And, what do we really know right now? We know that the top eight (two foursomes) players are locks. They are: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Furyk has been known to be a grinder, another bulldog, and quite possibly could be a cinch to be on the team. He brings an experience and a savvy to the strain of inexperience coursing throw the ranks. Players like Bradley, Dufner and Simpson do not know Ryder Cup pressure.
That is also the reason captain Love III is probably going to consider Steve Stricker. Stricker has a carefree Midwestern attitude and blends with just about anyone in two-ball competition.
The last two spots might be the real conundrum for Love III. Nick Watney is arguably the hottest player on tour and may have played his way into at least a sleepless night for Love III by winning last week. Or, if you look at the leaderboard at the Deutsche Bank, Dustin Johnson might be a popular selection.
Without getting too narrow-minded, the only decision that really matters is the one that will come from the lips of Love III on Tuesday. Some speculate that Stricker, Furyk and Mahan are shoe-ins for three spots and the rest are battling for what basically becomes a "wild-card" pick.
Other speculation banks that Love III likes Fowler, and wants his solid overall game. The only problem with that theory is that Fowler lacks the experience in this type of competition.
Without any hesitation, this writer thinks the four names will be:
Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk.