Corey Pavin's Top 10 Choices for the Four American Ryder Cup Spots

Ron FurlongAnalyst IISeptember 6, 2010

Corey Pavin's Top 10 Choices for the Four American Ryder Cup Spots

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    KILDARE, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 21:  Tiger Woods of USA smiles as he lines up with his team mates for the official team group photocall during the third official practice day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 21, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare,
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    American Ryder Cup skipper Corey Pavin will make his four captain's picks on Tuesday, rounding out the 12-man team that will take on the Europeans in Wales at the beginning of October.

    The four picks have been the most anticipated as any in recent memory by a Ryder Cup captain.

    First, Tiger Woods failed to qualify for the team. Another reason is the unusual inexperience of the eight that did qualify. Pavin is under the unique pressure of needing to add experience to the team, but he has few options of experienced players who deserve to be on the team.

    Veterans like Justin Leonard, Chris DiMarco, Stewart Cink, and David Toms would be nice options for Pavin to add some experience, but none of these players have stepped up in 2010 and really earned a spot. Only Cink is deserving of an outside shot.

    The eight already in are Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jeff Overton, and Matt Kuchar.

    Johnson, Watson, Overton, and Kuchar are all rookies. Mickelson, Furyk, and Stricker all have lost more Ryder Cup matches than they have won, and Mahan is just 2-0-3 in his one Ryder Cup appearance two years ago.

    On the eve of the picks, here are Pavin's top 10 options for the four open spots to fill out his team.

    The Ryder Cup will take place in Wales, beginning on October 1st.

10. Anthony Kim

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    PARAMUS, NJ - AUGUST 26:  Anthony Kim watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of The Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club on August 26, 2010 in Paramus, New Jersey.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Kim was having an outstanding season before an injury sidelined him this summer. Anthony missed three months of the season, and since then he has struggled mightily.

    In his last chance to impress, Kim missed the cut this weekend at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    Kim, a lock for the team earlier in the year, will get a quick consideration from Pavin, but will not make this team.

    He'll be back, though. Look for Kim to represent this team many times in the future.

9. Lucas Glover

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    GREENSBORO, NC - AUGUST 21: Lucas Glover hits his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on August 21, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    A step back in 2010 for this talented golfer. Glover has only three top tens in 21 tournaments, and six missed cuts. He is 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings.

    Glover will get a quick glance from Pavin, but nothing serious. He will not make this team.

8. David Toms

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    PARAMUS, NJ - AUGUST 26:  David Toms watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of The Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club on August 26, 2010 in Paramus, New Jersey.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Toms would be a nice veteran to add to this team, although his play in 2010 has really not warranted a pick. 

    Toms has picked up his game a little recently, and Pavin could go with Toms as his last pick, although I think it is unlikely.

    Just one top-10 finish all year is working against him.

7. Ben Crane

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    PARAMUS, NJ - AUGUST 28:  Ben Crane watches his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of The Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club on August 28, 2010 in Paramus, New Jersey.  (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    A break out year for the 34-year-old Crane. One win and five top 10s. Also 11th in Fed Ex Cup point standings.

    A good year, but not a serious option for Pavin.

    Maybe 2012?

6. Fred Couples

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    SAMMAMISH, WA - AUGUST 01:  Fred Couples hits his second shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship on August 1, 2010 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington..  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Couples is the only senior that Pavin will consider, and it will be a strong consideration.

    Couples has had a great year on the Champions Tour, and has demanded a look from Pavin.

    Five past Ryder Cups, but he hasn't been on the team since 1999. 

    It would be an interesting pick to say the least, and it has to tempt Pavin. But in the end, I think Fred will come up a bit short.

5. Nick Watney

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    NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Nick Watney hits a shot on the second hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2010 in Norton, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Watney is trying to play his way onto the team this weekend. Looks like he might come up a hair short.

    He tied for seventh at the Masters and British Open. Watney also led the PGA Championship going into the final round, although he shot a horrible 81 on Sunday to finish 18th.

    But the strong showings in the majors may be quite tempting to skipper Pavin.

    Watney will be a strong consideration, but I think he will come up just short.

4. Sean O'Hair

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    KOHLER, WI - AUGUST 10:  Sean O'Hair hits a tee shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 92nd PGA Championship on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits on August 10, 2010 in Kohler, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    OK. The top four. These are the four names I think Pavin will be calling on Tuesday.

    Sean O'Hair gets the last spot, if you will. I think it will come down to O'Hair, Watney, and Couples. This is the hardest guy to nail, as I think the top three are locks.

    O'Hair has had a consistent year, although nothing higher than fourth place. The missed cut this weekend may be a critical blow to his chances. 

    It will be close, but I think he makes it.

3. Stewart Cink

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    PARAMUS, NJ - AUGUST 28:  Stewart Cink pitches to the fifth green during the third round of The Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club on August 28, 2010 in Paramus, New Jersey.  (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    It was important for Cink to play well this weekend at the Deutsch Bank Championship, and he did.

    If the team had more experience, I'm not sure Cink gets in, but they need him this year. 

    Since the win over Tom Watson at last year's British Open, Cink has not played particularly well, but good enough to make Pavin's squad.

    Cink has made the last four Ryder Cup teams, although he only has a 4-7-4 record.

2. Zach Johnson

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    NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Zach Johnson tees off on the ninth hole during the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 5, 2010 in Norton, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Now we get to two guys who actually deserve to be on the team.

    After a slow start to the season Zach Johnson has turned it on as summer has gone along. Zach won the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial, and has slowly been climbing in the world rankings and FedEx Cup standings as the year has progressed.

    A 63 on the first day of the Deutsche Bank Championship put in him position to win, but he dropped off the leaderboard over the weekend. It does seem as though he'll do good enough to move on in the playoffs and play next week at Cog Hill.

    Johnson is a no-brainer for Pavin.

1. Tiger Woods

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    NORTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Tiger Woods tees off on the second hole during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on September 6, 2010 in Norton, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    For all the controversy surrounding this pick, Tiger is the easiest pick of all for Pavin. 

    Even if you forget history, which of course you can't and shouldn't, Tiger would still make the team.

    Strong play of late and still ranked No. 1 in the world as I write this (although that could change by the end of the day), Tiger has two top 10 finishes in majors this year (The Masters and the U.S Open) and another good showing (28th) at the PGA Championship.

    This has been a disappointing year for Tiger, but he definitely has shown signs of turning things around.

    And then there is the history. He has a singles record of 3-1-1 in Ryder Cup history and is one of the great match players of all time, despite the sub .500 record at the Ryder Cup. 

    On a team that needs leadership and experience, he brings both in abundance.

    After all is said and done, this is probably the easiest pick in the history of captain picks.