Corey Pavin's Top 10 Choices for the Four American Ryder Cup Spots
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
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
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
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
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.
6. Fred Couples
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
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
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
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
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
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.