Rookies Could Decide 2012 Ryder Cup Outcome

Fred AltvaterContributor IISeptember 24, 2012

Rookies Could Decide 2012 Ryder Cup Outcome

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    When the Ryder Cup teams meet at Medinah Country Club just outside of Chicago the USA team will have four rookies. 

    European team captain José Maria Olazábal will have a much more experienced team with only one rookie member.

    It might be the understatement of the century to say the European Ryder Cup team is loaded.  So much so that when Olazabal made his picks, he left out a three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and chose instead a Ryder Cup rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts.

    The European Team has four players currently in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings.

    In addition, all of the Europeans have had Ryder Cup experience except for Colsaerts.  They all have had very good campaigns in 2012, with the exception of Martin Kaymer, and he is showing signs of regaining the form that made him the 2010 PGA Champion.

    USA team captain Davis Love III will have to decide how to pair veteran players with his four rookies.  Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson qualified for the team via points; Brandt Snedeker was chosen by Love as a captain's pick ahead of Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. 

    Snedeker proved Love a genius by winning the Tour Championship at East Lake and the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus this weekend.

Nicolas Colsaerts Is the Only Rookie on the European Ryder Cup Team

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    Even though Nicolas Colsaerts is a Ryder Cup rookie, he is the longest driver on the European Tour and won the 2012 Volvo World Match Play in May, defeating Graeme McDowell in the final match.

    Colsaerts is nicknamed the “Belgian Bomber” for his prodigious drives.  He toiled on the fringes of professional golf for several years before he was able to find success on the European Tour.

    In addition to his win at the Volvo World Match Play, he had 10 top-10 finishes on the European Tour in 2012. 

    He will enter the Ryder Cup coming off two top-10 finishes in his last two starts.  He was T-8 at the KLM Open and T-5 at the BMW Italian Open.

    He will be eager to prove himself a worthy captain’s pick, and that may add some pressure.  Ryder Cup competition has a way of exposing even the tiniest flaw.  

Jason Dufner Was Third on the Ryder Cup Points Standings

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    Jason Dufner has become one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour and was third on the Ryder Cup Points Standings for the USA Team.

    Since his loss in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship, Dufner has been one of the best players in the world.

    He had two wins in 2012 and a runner-up finish to Zach Johnson at the Crowne Plaza.  Add in eight top-10 and 14 top-25 finishes in his 22 starts for the year, and you earn a little over $4.8 million for the year.

    Jason has moved up to the No. 6 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, and only Tiger Woods is ranked higher for the American players.

    His brilliant iron play and calm demeanor will make him an excellent partner for any of the young players or veterans alike in the team matches in the Ryder Cup.

Keegan Bradley Proved 2011 Was No Fluke

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    Keegan Bradley had a superb year in 2011, winning the Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship. 

    He finished 2011 fifth in the FedEx Cup standings and earned more than $3.7 million for the year.

    Bradley proved his performance last year was no fluke as he finished fourth on the USA Team Ryder Cup points list.

    He won the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone, threw in a runner-up at Riviera and a third-place finish at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

    Medinah could fit Bradley's game very well.  He performs well on classic, old-style golf courses.  Medinah's tree-lined fairways and long par-4 holes should give him an edge. 

    He is extremely long off the tee and has proven that he is one of the best clutch putters in the game today.

    He appears to be a bit antsy on the golf course, and Davis Love III will want to pair him with a calm veteran for the team matches.

Webb Simpson Won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club

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    Webb Simpson burst onto the world golf stage with two wins and three second-place finishes in 2011. 

    His runner-up finish at the 2011 McGladrey Classic forced Luke Donald to win the Children's Miracle Network Hospital Classic to claim the PGA Tour money title last year.

    Webb proved that 2011 was no fluke and won the U.S. Open on a treacherous Olympic Club golf course.

    Simpson is a very steady player that has a very sound all-around game. 

    He may be entering the Ryder Cup playing the worst of the Americans.  Since his U.S. Open win, he has missed two cuts and only had one top-10 finish in seven events prior to the Tour Championship.

    He carded a strong 66 on Sunday at East Lake to get a T-5 in the Tour Championship and finished No. 16 in the 2012 FedEx Cup final standings.

Brandt Snedeker Was a Captain's Pick for the Ryder Cup Team

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    Love used one of his four captain’s picks to choose Brandt Snedeker after his performance in the first two FedEx Cup Playoff events.

    Snedeker was just outside the top eight on the Ryder Cup points list heading into the playoffs.  He posted a second-place finish at the Barclays and was sixth at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    Love picked Snedeker ahead of Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan.

    With his win Sunday in the Tour Championship at East Lake Davis, Love now looks like a genius. 

    Snedeker won at Torrey Pines and was T-3 at the U.S. Open this year. 

    The Tour Championship win earned him $1.44 million plus $10 million for the FedEx Cup.    

    Brandt is not the longest hitter on tour, but he is one of the top putters.  That skill is quite useful in Ryder Cup matches.

    Look for him to be a key player in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.

2012 Ryder Cup Should Be Epic

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    The European Team currently holds the Ryder Cup, and they will try to retain ownership this week in the Ryder Cup Matches.

    European team Captain José Maria Olazábal has an experienced and talented team.

    USA team captain Davis Love III will need to fit four Ryder Cup rookies with the eight veterans to bring the cup back to American soil.

    Whom Davis Love will pair with these rookies and how they perform over the first two days of four-ball and foursome matches will be the factors that will decide the 2012 Ryder Cup.   

    The Ryder Cup is not place for the faint of heart, and it always has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in the participants.