Who has just clambered aboard the Love train for the Ryder Cup?
Davis Love III has gone for a combination of experience and form in his wildcard choices for his Ryder Cup team. Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker were widely tipped, while Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker have been rewarded for their recent strong performances.
By Declan Whooley
The Americans opted for eight automatic picks and two wild cards, compared to ten automatics in the European side and two wildcards.
Competition for the four spots was intense and most analysts had it between eight contenders. Hunter Mahan, who finished one place outside the automatic qualifying, will count himself unlucky. Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney too will have pushed very hard for selection.
To illustrate the competition between players, Bo van Pelt finished six places outside the automatic positions, but a stronger final round in last month's PGA would have been enough to take his place in the top eight.
Love III, a veteran of six Ryder Cups himself, has decided to go with experience as three of the automatic qualifiers Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson are debutants in the competition.
This will be Jim Furyk’s eighth time representing America and has had a solid if not spectacular year. The 42-year-old finished tenth on the automatic qualifying list and was tied for fourth at the US Open.
Steve Stricker is another that has seen it all before. The current world number ten finished in eleventh on the qualifying list and was always favoured to pick up a wildcard. Since 2009 he has spent 157 consecutive weeks in the top ten and his career earnings are an impressive $33 million. That is higher than any other golfer without a major championship.
Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker have shown form at just the right time and forced the hand of Love III. Johnson is renowned for his powerful long-hitting game and has overcome back injuries to earn three top 10 finishes in his last five outings. Celtic Manor two years ago was his first taste of Ryder Cup action.
Snedeker is also on a hot streak having finished as runner-up at The Barclays and was sixth in Boston on Monday. The 31-year-old from Tennessee also won the PGA Farmers Insurance Open in January after a play-off and has a reputation as one of the most solid putters in the game. He is the fourth member of the US team about to make his Ryder Cup debut.
The competition gets underway at Medinah near Chicago on the last weekend of September with Europe hoping for a fifth win in the last six outings.