Ryder Cup 2010: Pavin's Picks Fuse American Powerhouse Led By Tiger Woods

Will Leivenberg@@will_leivenbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2010

Ryder Cup 2010: Pavin's Picks Fuse American Powerhouse Led By Tiger Woods

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    Thankfully, Corey Pavin's Ryder Cup press conference looked nothing like the Lebron James "Decision."

    Pavin revealed his four Captain's picks for the 2010 Ryder Cup Team-- Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, and wild-card Rickie Fowler-- who will join the other exempt eight players in Wales where they will compete October 1-3.

    While the golf world has eagerly awaited Tiger Woods' reassertion of dominance in an attempt to earn his position on the Ryder Cup Team, Corey Pavin has been hounded by the media, trashed by columnists, and probably wishes he had never signed up for the job. Regardless of the fact that Woods has not finished T-12 and T-11 in his last two events, lets face it—Woods was a guarantee.

    But with the addition of Cink, Johnson, and 21-year-old sensation Rickie Fowler, Pavin has presented an eclectic team that fuses vital experience under pressure with youthful enthusiasm.

    The American Ryder Cup Team has not won this prestigious event on foreign soil since 1993, but that's all about to change.

Rickie Fowler Represents Investment in American Future

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The 150-pound, 5'9, 21-year-old kid who wears vibrant colored, almost obnoxiously bright clothing should not be under-estimated, overlooked, or under-appreciated.

    Almost a shoe-in for Rookie of the Year, Rickie Fowler has finished second twice this season. He nearly captured the victory at the Memorial, which consistently flaunts one of the most competitive fields on undeniably one of the more demanding golf courses players face all season.

    After competing in just three events in 2009, Fowler recorded two top-10 finishes, which was clearly a foreshadowing of this season's five, stellar top-10 finishes.  Fowler also battled back from a disastrous opening round at the British Open to shoot three under-par rounds and tally a remarkable T-14.

    But let's get to the meat of why Fowler belongs on this team: he represents an investment in the future of the American Ryder Cup Team.

    Fowler is already a ferocious, go-for-it, slam the ball in the back of the cup kind of player. You can see it in his stern gaze down the fairway and unwavering pre-shot routine. But Fowler is about to be surrounded by some of the most talented players, not just in the world, but to ever grip a golf club.

    From major champions like Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, to multiple time PGA Tour winners like Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan, to the up and coming stars of professional golf like Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson; Fowler will not just learn by doing, but hopefully, absorb a plethora of knowledge from this incredibly diverse, talented bunch.

An Abundance Of Experience Will Pay Off With Tiger at The Helm

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    While Tiger Woods continues to ceaselessly search for his once unrivaled golf game, he's still the No. one Ranked Player in the World and the competitor golfers most fear.

    Woods earned his Captain's pick and will not take it for granted. The Ryder Cup will be another crucial opportunity for Woods to hone his game and discover what's working and what's not. But his abundance of knowledge and experience—14 major championships, 71 PGA Tour victories, and countless other golf honors—deem him the ultimate weapon in the American arsenal.

    Alongside Woods, Phil Mickelson is not too shabby, boasting 38 PGA Tour victories and four major championships. Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, and Stewart Cink are all major champions, while every other player on the team, aside from young Fowler, has earned at least one victory in the 2010 season.

    If these guys can manage their games effectively, minimize their mistakes, and produce under pressure like they have throughout their careers, and during this ruthlessly competitive season of parity, the American Team will blossom in Wales.

Power Hitters Who Pummel The Ball Give Major Advantage

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    The combined average drives of Bubba Watson (308), Phil Mickelson (299) and Dustin Johnson (307) equal 914 yards.

    It's frightening how deep these guys are off the tee.

    But its not like other American Ryder Cup players like Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan, Jeff Overton, and Stewart Cink don't put a beating on the ball as well. The length of the Americans will be a major advantage when they play at the 7378-yard Celtic Manor course.

Putting Extraordinaires and Unbeatable Touch Around The Greens

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Steve Stricker may be the best putter on Tour.

    But then again, Tiger Woods reads speed and break better than any player the golf world as ever seen. However, Zach Johnson has proven his rhythmic touch with the flatstick. But Stewart Cink rarely misses inside eight feet. Hunter Mahan is birdie-machine on the weekend and Phil Mickelson puts on a clinic every time he has a wedge in his hand (of which he has three in his bag).

    Well, at least they're all on the American team.

    The American team is jam-packed with guys who have just as much skill off the tee as they do with lag putts and the gut-check putts inside six feet. Putting is often what makes or breaks a player's round, and thankfully, this bunch putts with poise, patience and produces under pressure.