Ryder Cup 2014: Predicting Who's In, Who's out Ahead of FedEx Cup

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

Ryder Cup 2014: Predicting Who's In, Who's out Ahead of FedEx Cup

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Tom Watson will announce his three Ryder Cup 2014 captain's picks in prime time this year. He'll need to get maximum value from his selections, as the U.S. Ryder Cup squad is looking outmatched at the moment. That means he'll go with seasoned PGA Tour professionals who have Ryder Cup experience. 

    With the FedEx Cup playoffs upon us, let's take a look at who Captain Watson is considering. Here's a look at players 10 through 25 in the points standings. 

    10: Jason Dufner

    11. Ryan Moore

    12: Brendon Todd

    13: Keegan Bradley

    14: Chris Kirk

    15: Webb Simpson

    16: Harris English

    17: Kevin Na

    18: Ryan Palmer

    19: Matt Every

    20: Brandt Snedeker

    21: Erik Compton

    22: Kevin Stadler

    23: Brian Harman

    24: Gary Woodland

    25: Hunter Mahan 

    A quick look at the above, and it's clear that one healthy veteran with Ryder Cup experience won't be making the team this year. That's right, at least one of the following will be watching the Ryder Cup from his couch: Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson.

    Who's it going to be? Read on to find out. 

Out: Jason Dufner

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 11

    Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0 

    Recent play: Jason Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship due to a bulging disk in his neck. The neck issue has significantly impaired his performance recently: Dufner missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Quicken Loans National.  

    Why he's out: Dufner isn't in the field for this week's Barclays. The more time he needs to recuperate, the less likely Tom Watson will be to pick him. There's no reason for Dufner to risk injury playing exhibition golf. Watson will agree and take a pass on the Duf. 

In: Brandt Snedeker

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 20

    Ryder Cup record: 1-2-0

    Recent play: Brandt Snedeker tied for 13th at the PGA Championship thanks to weekend rounds of 66 and 67. He tied for 25th at the RBC Canadian Open and tied for 12th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Why he's in: This hasn't been Snedeker's best season. However, recent work with Butch Harmon is paying dividends, as he's put together three solid starts in a row. If he continues to play well through the playoffs, expect to see him on Watson's squad for his putting ability, if nothing else. 

Out: Ryan Moore

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    Phil Long/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 11

    Ryder Cup record: N/A

    Recent play: Ryan Moore finished tied for 41st at the PGA Championship. He also tied for eighth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational amid a string of top 10s. 

    Why he's out: Moore nearly made the Ryder Cup team on merit. Unfortunately, he won't make the team as a captain's pick. Moore will be passed over for veteran golfers with Ryder Cup experience (of which Moore has none).

In: Keegan Bradley

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 13

    Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0

    Recent play: Keegan Bradley missed the cut at the PGA Championship. Prior to that, he tied for fourth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and tied for 19th at The Open Championship. 

    Why he's in: Tom Watson is building a team. Bradley, with his crazy-eyed enthusiasm, is a phenomenal teammate. His Ryder Cup record is, in a word, great, too. 

Out: Brendon Todd

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 12

    Ryder Cup record: N/A

    Recent play: Twenty-nine-year-old Brendon Todd finished 73rd at the PGA Championship a week after finishing tied for 45th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Why he's out: Todd finds himself in the same boat as Ryan Moore. Although he nearly qualified for the team on points, Tom Watson will go with veteran players who have Ryder Cup experience. 

In: Hunter Mahan

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    Rob Carr/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 25

    Ryder Cup record: 3-2-3

    Recent play: Hunter Mahan tied for seventh at the PGA Championship after a final-round 67. He finished tied for 32nd at The Open Championship and tied for 15th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. 

    Why he's in: Mahan's record and the intensity you see in the photo above have to secure him a spot on Watson's team, even if he's only 25th in the standings. Plus, he's been rounding into form lately. 

Out: Webb Simpson

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Ryder Cup points standing: 15

    Ryder Cup record: 2-2-0

    Recent play: Webb Simpson tied for fifth at the Wyndham Championship. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship the last time he teed it up prior to the Wyndham. 

    Why he's out: One healthy veteran with Ryder Cup experience from inside the top 25 in the standings won't be making the team this year. Out of the group of Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson, it will be Simpson not making the squad thanks to his missed cut in the last two majors.