Jordan Spieth, after a sensational rookie season on the PGA Tour, capped so far by a 9-under 62 finish Monday at TPC Boston, left captain Fred Couples no choice but to tap him for a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team, right?
Well, maybe not, if you’re captain Couples, who notoriously left PGA champion and eventual Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley off the 2011 squad.
"He’s got a 50/50 chance," Couples, during a post-Deutsche Bank Championship conference call Monday night, said of the 20-year-old who had no playing card to start the season but has secured one win (John Deere Classic), two runners-up, five additional top 10s, and a certain start in the FedExCup final Tour Championship since. "He’s showed a lot of character and he’s had a great year, there’s no doubt. He’s really had a great year."
That, plus the gung-ho enthusiasm and new blood Spieth would bring to the proceedings -- much like the youthful energy Bradley infused in Phil Mickelson last year at the Ryder Cup -- would seem to make the Texan a sure-fire pick. Yet Couples, with two spots to fill to round out the 12-player unit, suggested he may go in another, yawn, direction.
Couples noted he would love to elect his "all-time favorite" player, Rickie Fowler, but, at 17th on the points list, was "just not close enough for us to give him a thought."
Webb Simpson, despite his up-and-down 2013 campaign (five top 10s, four missed cuts) and getting knocked out of the top 10 (and a guaranteed spot on the team) by Zach Johnson’s birdie to end the DBC, seemed to be at the top of Couples’ must-choose list.
"How do you not pick that guy who has been in the top 10 for two straight years here and up until the very last second, he gets pushed out?" Couples wondered.
In addition to Spieth and Simpson, Couples noted that his list included Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk as well and left it to assistant captain Jay Haas to make the case for Spieth, only No. 22 in the PC standings but he tallied his points in less than one full season.
"Certainly [Spieth] is something we have to look at. Jordan obviously came out this year with no status and here we are talking about him possibly being on The Presidents Cup team. So he's obviously played very well," Haas said. "You know, his record is speaking for itself, and his round today kind of capped off what he's accomplished this year in just such a short time at a young age. So obviously you can't overlook that."
Maybe you can, if you’re the captain.
"Really, I don't know Jordan Spieth that well," Couples said. "I don’t think Jordan’s dominated any major events. Jim Furyk was in the last group and played well at the PGA, and Dustin was hurt a little bit, and obviously Webb Simpson is as good a player as you're going to get on the PGA Tour."
Couples and International skipper Nick Price will unveil their selections at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday on Golf Channel.