Is it a good thing or a bad thing for the U.S. team that Rory is likely the 5th best player on the Euro team right now?
Brian Harman is bucking his head early at the Travelers. Would love to see him have a high finish and strong summer. Webb seems like one of the nicest guys out there but BH seems like he’d be an absolute savage match play guy.
Some next-level strategy by Casey, giving up this tournament to Bubba to ensure he makes the team on points, resulting in favorable matchups for the Euros in the RC.
Is it too late to move the RC to Riv, Augusta, or Hartford?
I figure this is about the time to start looking at standings seriously.
Euros: Strangely, I think this team is really close to being set already.
Euro points list: there’s a 5-man breakaway at the top: Hatton, Rose, Fleetwood, Molinari, Noren. Top 4 qualify. However, with the lead these guys have in points over 6th place, plus their standings in the world points list, it feels like all 5 are going to make the team. Well, Noren could be the outsider, finishing 5th in both lists and then getting shunned in the captains’ picks, but today’s win might be the clincher for him.
World points list: Rahm and McRib seem to be safely in. Noren and Casey have the other two spots. Noren is a lock as noted above, and the other 3 are super-obvious locks anyway. Ideal scenario for Bjorn may be for these 8 guys to hold their positions and hope no stragglers win their way in.
Captain’s picks: Poulter, Sergio, and Stenson are all reasonably high enough in the world points list to make them super obvious picks. If one of them moves up, great, but that’ll just mean a captain’s pick for Casey or whoever instead. Only real drama is the 12th pick. Seems like a two-man choice between Fitzpatrick and RCB.
All the big names of yesteryear (McDowell, Westwood, Donald, Kaymer) are too far back. So is Pieters. If you wanted to make a case for Ross Fisher, okay I guess. But I see no other real choice. But whoever is the 12th guy, he’s likely not playing more than once anyways.
Only real bad scenario for them right now would be Oleson or Fisher bagging enough Euro points to get in the mix on that list, or a random Euro winning The Open. And that would only bounce Fitz/RCB. Also, they need to figure out how to give everyone playing time. Usually the Euros bury a couple players deep on their bench. This week really went a long way to solidifying this roster; two of the borderline candidates (Noren, Molinari) basically locked up spots.
'Murica: Koepka, DJ, JT, Bubba, Reed are practical locks on points. Spieth and Fowler can be caught on points, but they’re in pretty good shape when you compare their raw total of points to everyone lower than 10th in the standings. Plus they’re locks as captain’s picks, so let’s assume they’re there either way.
8th spot is pretty tight between Bryson, Webb, and Phil…but at this point, it feels like all 3 are practical locks by hook or by crook. Webb makes a fine Bubba caddy, Bryson’s earned his way on, and Phil is Phil.
It would take a lot for anyone else to jump into an auto qualifying position. Kuchar and Harman could get there without winning, with a few high finishes; basically everyone else needs a win as part of their equation. These are the two spots I could see go down to the wire, with Furyk just waiting to see who’s in good form. Tiger jumping into the Top 30 is big; it’s an easier sell as a pick if he works his way up the list a bit more.
I’d love to see Harman in a match-play format, but I fear there’s no room (and no natural partner available). Finau and Xander are 13th and 14th right now; I have a feeling they’ll have to force Furyk’s hand to make the team. Everyone else is off the consideration board unless they really go nuts (feels like we’re done with ZJ, Sneds for good; maybe Jimmy Walker sneaks in somehow).
For pods, you can pencil in Reed/Spieth/Bubba/Webb (not like those two groups will split up anyways), Fowler/Phil/Bryson/JT, and Tiger/DJ/Koepka/X. Tiger/Kuchar feels like a natural pairing. If we assume Phil/Bryson is fait accompli, and you select Finau or Xander, who do you pair them with? I’m not really finding a natural pairing.
Reed/Spieth (plays 4x)
Fowler/JT (plays 3x)
DJ/Koepka (plays 3x)
Webb/Bubba (plays 2x)
Tiger/Kuchar (plays 2x)
Phil/Bryson (plays 2x)
McRib (plays 4x)
Rose (plays 4x)
Stenson (plays 4x)
Sergio (plays 4x)
Rahm (plays 4x)
Poults (plays 3x)
Casey (plays 3x)
Fleetwood (plays 3x)
Hatton (plays 3x)
Molinari (plays 2x)
Noren (plays 1x)
RCB (plays 1x)
A couple players always get buried on the end…they can take a session away from Hatton/Fleetwood if they struggle, and maybe a couple of Stenson/Sergio/Poults/Rose may need a rest once.
It’s gonna be fun watching the US guys carve some big drives into the lakes while Fleetwood and Molinari just arrow darts down the middle and right at pins. Watching Shipnuck’s heart break and you all scratching your heads thinking “But look at our team! We should walk this easy ” And all of us Euros sitting back smugly and replying “World rankings mean bugger all at the Ryder Cup. We’ve told you that before and we’ll say it again.”
Both teams are stacked - I think the betting line will be close to even. Neither squad has those bottom of the lineup no-names that have periodically plagued each side over the years. I’d be comfortable with every one of those Euros in a big spot and all the Americans except Webb (maybe Bubba but really who knows with him?)
Cat pairs with Bryson, the bromance is strong with them, regular practice round partners now.
On current form, Spieth is a liability to this team. There, I said it.
Euro team is a fascinating mix of steady Eddies (Rose, Stenson, Casey) and boom/bust players (Rory, Rahm, Poulter).
/reads @Technochocolate’s Ryder Cup team rosters
//sees Webb Simpson listed