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Stock Watch for U.S. Ryder Cup Candidates After 2014 PGA Championship

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2014

Stock Watch for U.S. Ryder Cup Candidates After 2014 PGA Championship

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Nine spots on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup are set now that the PGA Championship is behind us. With the two-year qualification process over, let's take a look at who captain Tom Watson may consider choosing for his three captain's picks and how their respective stocks are doing. 

    First, here are the players who earned roster spots:

    1. Bubba Watson
    2. Rickie Fowler
    3. Jim Furyk
    4. Jimmy Walker
    5. Phil Mickelson
    6. Matt Kuchar
    7. Jordan Spieth
    8. Patrick Reed
    9. Zach Johnson

    Watson is slated to announce his decision September 2, so the players on this list will have a chance improve their lots before then. 

    Whose stock is up? Whose is down? Click through to see. 


     

Stock Up: Hunter Mahan

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 3-2-3

    What he could bring to the team: Mahan played well enough at the '08 and '10 Ryder Cups. He's an energetic, enthusiastic golfer who drives the ball well, a boon in team play. 

     

    How he's played recently 

    Hunter Mahan tied for 32nd at The Open Championship but followed up with a missed cut at the RBC Canadian Open. A final-round 68 propelled him to a tie for 15th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Mahan was very good at the PGA Championship, where weekend rounds of 65 and 67 secured him a tie for seventh. 

    Mahan's stock is up thanks to steady, high-quality golf (aside from the missed cut in Canada). 

Stock Down: Tiger Woods

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 13-17-3

    What he could bring to the team: Even in a weakened, rusty state, Tiger Woods is still Tiger Woods. The face of professional golf for nearly 20 years, he's still the biggest star in the game. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Thanks to an ailing back and just seven starts on tour this year, Tiger Woods was nowhere near the top nine finishers in the Ryder Cup points standings. Returning from injury at the Quicken Loans National at the end of June, Woods missed the cut after firing rounds of 74, 75. 

    He finished 69th at The Open Championship, then withdrew from WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with injury during the final round. Most recently, Woods, suffering from a flare-up of the back issues that prompted his withdrawal at Firestone, missed the cut at the PGA Championship by several strokes. 

    Forget about his golf game—Tiger Woods' stock is down because right now it doesn't look like his body will allow him to compete. 

Stock Up: Brandt Snedeker

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 1-2-0

    What he could bring to the team: Although he's struggling with his swing this year, Brandt Snedeker is still one of the best putters in the game. Presently, he's 16th in strokes gained–putting. Holing putts is critical at the Ryder Cup, and Snedeker is the man to hole them.  

     

    How he's played recently

    Brandt Snedeker has had three quality starts in a row recently. The Tennessee native finished tied for 25th at the RBC Canadian Open and tied for 12th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    At the PGA Championship, Snedeker shot 66, 67 during the weekend to finish tied for 13th. The performance was his best in a major championship this season. 

    Snedeker's stock is up thanks to recent performance, but coach Tom Watson won't be wowed by his 1-2-0 record. 

     

Stock Down: Webb Simpson

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 2-2-0

    What he could bring to the team: Although his Ryder Cup record stands at just .500, Webb Simpson is a proven major winner and a relaxed personality. He certainly wouldn't contribute negatively to team chemistry at Gleneagles. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Webb Simpson finished third at the Greenbrier Classic at the beginning of July. Unfortunately, it's been downhill for the 2012 U.S. Open champion since that point. 

    Simpson missed the cut at The Open Championship at Hoylake. He finished tied for 31st at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and then missed the cut at the PGA Championship. 

    With missed cuts at the last two majors and a mediocre Ryder Cup record, Webb Simpson is almost certainly falling off Tom Watson's radar. 

     

Stock Up: Keegan Bradley

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0

    What he could bring to the team: Keegan Bradley would bring great energy and enthusiasm to the U.S. Ryder Cup roster. He's an intense, proven winner with a formidable 3-1-0 record in the 2012 Ryder Cup. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Bradley had three quality performances leading up to a missed cut at the PGA Championship. He tied for fourth at the Greenbrier Classic, for 19th at The Open Championship and fourth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Keegan Bradley missed the cut at the PGA Championship, true. But his solid playing leading up to the tournament and impressive contributions to the U.S. side in the last Ryder Cup must have Bradley's stock trending up. 

     

Stock Down: Chris Kirk

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: N/A

    What he could bring to the team: A potential first-time Ryder Cup participant, Chris Kirk could be a solid, steady presence on captain Watson's team. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Chris Kirk has missed two out of his last four cuts. He didn't make it to the weekend at the John Deere Classic or the PGA Championship.

    Between the two missed cuts, Kirk finished tied for 19th at The Open Championship and tied for 41st at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    With no Ryder Cup experience and a missed cut at the PGA Championship, Chris Kirk's stock is trending downward. 

     

Stock Up: Ryan Moore

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: N/A

    What he could bring to the team: Another golfer without Ryder Cup experience, Ryan Moore is a cool customer. Moore played on the 2004 Walker Cup team, so he has experience in team competition.

     

    How he's played recently

    Ryan Moore had four top-10 finishes in a row leading up to the PGA Championship, including a tie for eighth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Moore finished tied for 41st at the PGA Championship, despite a final-round 74. 

    Tom Watson has to be intrigued by Moore's quality play since the U.S. Open in June. 

Stock Down: Jason Dufner

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0

    What he could bring to the team: Jason Dufner would bring a solid Ryder Cup record and fantastic personality and potential for chemistry to the squad. Unfortunately, he could also bring a badly injured neck, which surely concerns captain Watson. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Duf Daddy withdrew from the PGA Championship with a bulging disk in his neck. The injury has hampered his performance as of late. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open and did the same thing at the Quicken Loans National. 

    In his made cuts since the U.S. Open, Dufner struggled to ties for 51st (The Open Championship) and 66th (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational). 

    While he was great at the 2012 Ryder Cup, captain Watson has to be very worried by Dufner's neck injury. 

Stock Flat: Brendon Todd

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ryder Cup record: N/A

    What he could bring to the team: Brendon Todd is a class act who has been playing consistent, solid golf this year. He'd likely be a quality, flexible teammate as a member of the U.S. squad. 

     

    How he's played recently

    Brendon Todd tied for 39th at The Open Championship and finished 73rd at the PGA Championship. His tie for 45th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational wasn't particularly impressive, either. 

    Still, Todd had a brilliant run from his win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May through the Greenbrier Classic at the beginning of July, where he finished tied for fourth. He didn't finish worse than a tie for 17th during that stretch. 

    With sustained quality play relatively recently and less-than-stellar golf in his most recent events, Brendon Todd's stock is neither up nor down. He'll be an intriguing enigma for Tom Watson for sure. 

     

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