The U.S. Ryder Cup team is set, as captain Tom Watson made his three wild-card picks, to go along with the nine automatic qualifiers. Watson tapped Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson to round out the squad. They join Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson. (Note to those searching the preceding sentences for the name “Tiger Woods”: Stop. He’s not on the team, nor should he be.)
Earlier today, European captain Paul McGinley selected his own wild cards: Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. They join Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell.
Not making the U.S. team was Chris Kirk, who just won the Deutsche Bank Championship and is ahead of Simpson and Mahan in the Ryder Cup standings. Watson opted for the Ryder Cup experience of the latter two, plus Mahan had shown good form two weeks ago in winning The Barclays.
According to Golf Digest, here is what Watson had to say about his choices:
“Keegan can go real low, and he teamed up great with Phil Mickelson [in the 2012 Cup],” Watson said of Bradley, “but the most important thing he brings is his unbridled passion to play in the Ryder Cup team.”
“Match play seems to be his forte,” Watson said of Mahan, highlighting his recent success at the WGC Match Play. “He’s coming into his own right now, and he’s really playing some great golf.”
“It came to me this morning . . . I kind of had a revelation,” said Watson on his final pick. “I took a look the last time the Ryder Cup was played and I just realized Webb was the guy.”
The Ryder Cup will be contested Sept. 26-28 at Gleneagles in Scotland. Europe has won on seven of the past nine occasions.