2014 Ryder Cup: Breaking Down the Team USA Roster
The 2014 Ryder Cup begins September 26 at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Now that captain Tom Watson has announced his three captain's picks in spectacular fashion, the U.S. team's roster is set.
Team USA has only won the biennial competition once since 2000, most recently suffering a heartbreaking collapse at Medinah in 2012.
Currently, Oddschecker shows Europe favored at 4-7 odds, while the United States is pegged at 7-4 odds. In other words, the implied probability of Europe retaining the Ryder Cup is 63 percent.
Thus, much depends on Watson's captain's picks. Let's have a look at who they are and who rounds out the rest of the team.
Click through for a complete breakdown of the U.S. squad presented in order of Ryder Cup points accumulated.
Captain's Pick: Hunter Mahan
Ryder Cup record: 3-2-3
2013-14 highlight: Winning The Barclays. Mahan also tied for seventh at the PGA Championship. The 32-year-old has made 18 of 23 cuts this season with a total of six top-10 finishes.
What he brings: One of the stronger records among young players and a fair measure of intensity.
Captain's Pick: Keegan Bradley
Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0
2013-14 highlight: Keegan Bradley's best finish from this past season is a second-place showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He's recorded six top-10s in 25 starts this season.
What he brings: A passion for the competition (see photo above). Arguably no golfer on the Ryder Cup team was more upset by the 2012 loss at Medinah and more desirous of a captain's pick than Bradley.
Captain's Pick: Webb Simpson
Ryder Cup record: 2-2-0
2013-14 highlight: Webb Simpson won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to begin the season. He also had three third-place finishes and a total of nine top-10 finishes.
What he brings: Hopefully not the shanks. Simpson is a class act with a relaxed demeanor: an ideal combination for a teammate.
Ryder Cup record: 6-4-1
2013-14 highlight: Winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Zach Johnson also won the unofficial Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in addition to tallying five top-10 finishes in 25 starts this season. He's ninth in driving accuracy and 23rd in strokes gained: total as well.
What he brings: A steady, veteran presence. As a major winner and a veteran of three Ryder Cups with a solid record, Johnson is one of the two American golfers with multiple Ryder Cup appearances and a winning record. Captain Watson will expect him to lead by example.
Ryder Cup record: N/A
2013-14 highlight: With two wins (Humana Challenge, WGC-Cadillac Championship) and a total of four top-10 finishes, Patrick Reed is presently 12th in the FedEx Cup standings.
What he brings: Confidence. Patrick Reed isn't lacking in the quality, as he indicated to reporters in his now infamous post-round comments after his win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship indicated. "I’m one of the top five players in the world."
Ryder Cup record: N/A
2013-14 highlight: While Jordan Spieth hasn't won this season, with seven top-10 finishes in 25 starts, he's hardly having a sophomore slump. The highlight of the young Texan's season: going toe-to-toe with Bubba Watson on Sunday at the Masters. Spieth ultimately finished tied for second.
What he brings: In a word: youth. At 21 years old, and in just his second season on the PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth will be the youngest player on the U.S. squad. He'll also bring poise well beyond his years.
Ryder Cup record: 3-2-2
2013-14 highlight: A win and a near win. Matt Kuchar was victorious at the RBC Heritage thanks to a miraculous hole-out from the bunker. He finished second in a playoff at the Shell Houston Open thanks to a not-so-miraculous approach shot that found the water. He's totaled 11 top-10s in 22 starts this season.
What he brings: A "happy warrior" mentality. Unfortunately, Kuchar won't be able to reprise his Fresh Prince of Bel Air celebration with Tiger Woods (see the video above) this year as TW is at home resting his surgically repaired back.
Ryder Cup record: 14-18-6
2013-14 highlight: Contending at the PGA Championship in the dying Kentucky night has to be the high-water mark of Phil Mickelson's season. It also marked the veteran's only top-10 finish of the year. He has 10 top-25s in 20 starts this season.
What he brings: In terms of career achievements, Mickelson is far and away the best and most accomplished player in the Ryder Cup. He's also made every team since 1995. Lefty brings experience in droves and radiates the sort of carefree intensity that works well in Ryder Cup competition (for Europe at least).
Ryder Cup record: N/A
2013-14 highlight: The entire first quarter of the season. From October of this wraparound season through the beginning of February, Walker won three times and notched two additional top-10 finishes. 2013-2014 has been a breakout season for the Oklahoma native.
What he brings: Cool, and capable in majors, Walker should be a good teammate. Plus, he's excited for the competition as evidenced by his purchasing of a Ryder Cup hat out of pocket: "I actually bought a hat off the PGA (of America) website the other day just to wear it at home and around house, so I'm excited," he said, per Steve DiMeglio of USA Today.
Ryder Cup record: 9-17-4
2013-14 highlight: A bevy of second-place finishes. While many may focus on Furyk's failure to seal the deal this year, his season has been a very good one. The Pennsylvania native has finished second three times and inside the top 10 a total of nine times in 19 starts.
What he brings: A steady hand, cool head and a wealth of experience. While Furyk's record isn't outstanding and the photo of him dropping his putter in extreme emotional distress is one of the enduring images of the U.S. meltdown at Medinah, Furyk's veteran presence is still an asset to the team.
Ryder Cup record: 0-1-2
2013-14 highlight: The majors. Rickie Fowler brilliantly finished tied for fifth or better in all four majors. He was a total of 32 under across all four majors, beating Rory McIlroy by five strokes in that department and leading the tour. Only eight players were under in total for the four majors, per Kyle Porter of CBS Sports.
What he brings: Not a winning record, that's for sure. What Fowler brings is a newfound confidence, a retooled string and near wins in all four majors this year. The Oklahoma State alum will be exciting to watch at Gleneagles.
Ryder Cup record: 3-5-0
2013-14 highlight: Winning the Masters. Bubba Watson captured the second Masters (and second major) of his PGA Tour career. He's made 16 of 19 cuts this year with seven top-10 finishes, including two wins.
What he brings: Excitement. Whatever else he may be, Bubba Watson is interesting and entertaining. And for as fidgety and irritable as he often seems in tour events, the long-hitting lefty seems well suited to team competition.
All stats via PGATour.com.
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