Golf

2014 Ryder Cup: Stock Watch for Team USA Candidates After the Barclays

Mike DudurichContributor IAugust 24, 2014

2014 Ryder Cup: Stock Watch for Team USA Candidates After the Barclays

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    Hunter Mahan took a big step Sunday afternoon at the Barclays.
    Hunter Mahan took a big step Sunday afternoon at the Barclays.Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Tom Watson, the captain of the United States Ryder Cup team, could not have been pleased with how things turned out at the Barclays this week.

    Oh sure, he was thrilled with Hunter Mahan's victory, including how well he putted over the course of the four rounds. That makes him the frontrunner to nab one of the three captain's choices Watson will announced Sept. 2.

    Beyond that, not much intel was provided to Watson that he could use to make decisions on the other two spots.

    Of the top five candidates, two missed the cut and the other three turned in less than sparkling performances.

    Here's a list of how the top five candidates fared at the Barclays.

Stock Down: Brendon Todd

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    Brendon Todd usually makes a lot of putts.
    Brendon Todd usually makes a lot of putts.USA TODAY Sports

    Brendon Todd was one of those guys trying to become a Ryder Cup rookie and was in a great place as the final round of the Barclays began. He was seven-under-par when he stepped on the first tee and one more good round would have impressed Watson.

    But Todd, who was 12th in Ryder Cup points, shot 37 on the front nine and while winner Hunter Mahan separated himself on the crowded leaderboard on the back nine, Todd seperated himself from the top of the leaderboard.

    A pair of double bogeys doomed him to a 39 and he dropped 42 spots on the leaderboard.

    Did he also drop off Watson's radar?

    The only saving grace for Todd is that two of the players he's competing with for the three spots – Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore – didn't even make the cut.

    Todd will still need to put together four good rounds next week to have a chance.

Stock Up: Hunter Mahan

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    Hunter Mahan is in "hit-it-and-hope" mode this week and next week.
    Hunter Mahan is in "hit-it-and-hope" mode this week and next week.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Tom Watson will use every bit of information and will take all the time necessary to make his selections as captain's picks to fill out his Ryder Cup team.

    He knows his team will be up against a loaded European team when they face off at Gleneagles late next month.

    Hunter Mahan may have eliminated some of the angst for the U.S. captain Sunday. Mahan was ranked 25th on the Ryder Cup points list going into the Barclays, but looked like he deserved to be on the team with a strong performance to win the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs by a pair of shots.

    Mahan has been a captain's pick twice previously for the Ryder Cup and two previously for the Presidents Cup. Those picks came as a result of his putting prowess and his ball-striking ability, both of which were on display Sunday.

    It will be hard for Watson not to put Watson on his team, since his win Sunday makes him the only player on the roster to win since Matt Kuchar's hole-out to win the RBC Heritage Classic.

Stock Down: Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley's enthusiasm could be big for the U.S. Ryder Cup team if he makes it.
    Keegan Bradley's enthusiasm could be big for the U.S. Ryder Cup team if he makes it.USA TODAY Sports

    On a day when Keegan Bradley had a chance to take a big step toward nailing down a spot on Tom Watson's team, the best he could do was a one-over-par 72.

    Bradley started the week 13th on the Ryder Cup points list. He has some really good Ryder Cup experience and the kind of enthusiasm that money can't buy.

    But he came out and posted 13 pars, three birdies, a bogey and a triple bogey.

    Should Bradley become one of Watson's picks, he'll bring a great deal of energy as well as a fair degree of agitation for the European side. He has a prolonged and strange pre-shot routine and an equally strange routine on the greens.

    In an Associated Press on rydercup.com story, he called playing in the Ryder Cup in 2012 "the best day of my life," but he's no lock to do it again in 2014.

    His inconsistency, however, will most likely give Watson pause for concern when he sits down to make those final picks. Since finishing fourth at the U.S. Open, he's had two missed cuts, a pair of T4s and a T19, T31.

    Not exactly a model of consistency and if he's going to make it, he'll probably need to play better next week to be sure.

Stock Down: Ryan Moore

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    Ryan Moore has been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour this year.
    Ryan Moore has been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour this year.USA TODAY Sports

    Ryan Moore is having his best season of his career, having won the CIMB Classic in the early part of the PGA Tour's 2013-14 season.

    He's earned over $3 million and it might not be good enough for him to make the Ryder Cup team.

    Moore came into the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs ranked 11th, putting him in no-man's land. He wasn't quite good enough to earn his way into the top nine, giving him an automatic berth on the team, but is also guaranteed nothing in terms of being chosen to the team, because Watson won't necessarily pick Nos. 10, 11 and 12 on the list to fill out his team.

    Prior to the PGA Championship, Moore had been the kind of player Watson was looking for: a guy who was playing well as the Ryder Cup approached. Three of his previous four events had produced top-10 finishes, the other was a top-15.

    And then came the PGA Championship and Moore struggled to a T40. Back that up with a missed cut at the Barclays and the bloom is starting to come off Moore's rose.

    "He (Watson) knows I'm close and kind of on the verge," Moore said in a pgatour.com story going into the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational 14th in the points standings. I don't want to rely on anything like (being picked), and I would be very surprised if I got a pick."

Stock Down: Brandt Snedeker

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    Brandt Snedeker was starting to get his game back until this week.
    Brandt Snedeker was starting to get his game back until this week.USA TODAY Sports

    All things considered, it hasn't been much of a season for Brandt Snedeker.

    He hasn't hit the ball all that well and, more telling, hasn't putted the ball all that well, either.

    But in his last three starts, he's posted finishes to T12, T13 and T5.

    All of a sudden, his name pops up on the radar as a player to be considered when Tom Watson makes his three captain's choices.

    After all, a great putter, which Snedeker has been throughout his career, is a prerequisite for a team looking to win the Ryder Cup.

    But guess what? Snedeker missed the cut in the Barclays, the first of four events in the FedEx Cup playoffs. That is not what Watson was hoping to see from any player in the three-week audition (Wyndham Championship, Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship) for those who hoped to be picked.

    Being ranked 20th in the Ryder Cup points list doesn't help Snedeker's case much, either.

    "Tom has made it very clear to those of us on the outside looking in on what we need to do to get picked," Snedeker said in a story by Farrell Evans on espn.com. "That's play well, win and prove that you can handle the pressure on Sunday."

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