It’s the final day of the 2015-16 PGA Tour Season, but there’s more than just the $10 million FedExCup prize on the line. After the Tour Championship finishes up later Sunday in Atlanta, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will hand out the final ticket to the Twin Cities for the American roster.
Three of Love’s four selections have already been made, naming Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, and Rickie Fowler to the roster after the BMW Championship two weeks ago.
But part of the Task Force’s revamping of the team selection process was the addition of the Billy Horschel Rule -- or moving the final pick for the roster until after the completion of the FedExCup. Horschel finished second at the Deutsche Bank and won the BMW Championship and Tour Championship in the final three weeks of the season in 2014, but missed the Ryder Cup roster because the picks had already been made before his two wins. It’s designed to get the hottest players at the time of the event on the U.S. roster. We will know soon if it ends up being used for that purpose.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at the four players in the running for Davis Love III’s selection.
Bubba’s probably the favorite for the spot, and there’s a reason he should be. He’s still the third-highest ranked American in the OWGR sitting at No. 7 in the world, but he’s been relatively quiet on Tour since the Cadillac Championship in early March. Bubba was an Olympian and cares about the Ryder Cup as much as any, but he’s only been an okay Ryder Cup player in three appearances -- at best. His sometimes-aloof personality won’t do him favors in the team room, either.
The U.S. could use a long-hitting youngster, and Thomas would fit the bill perfectly for Hazeltine. He didn’t get Cup points for his win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last November, and Love says he’s been keeping track of his own "unofficial points list" all year. JT would be a fan favorite and he’s well-liked among the current roster, but he’s hardly been inspiring since a T-3 at The Players.
Moore’s the closest thing to a Horschel in 2016. He won the John Deere Classic in August -- the most recent win of anyone listed among this group -- and followed that up with two top-tens at Playoff events in the last two out of three weeks. Now he’s in contention to take home the Tour Championship, just a couple shots behind Dustin Johnson. If Moore wins and still doesn’t get the call, the new rule change might feel like a farce. Was the pick made before the finish of the Tour Championship? Does this Sunday round matter before the big announcement on Sunday Night Football?
Berger’s got the invite to practice with the U.S. team at Hazeltine, just like Bubba and Justin Thomas. He’s won more recently than either of those two, but he’s also faced some injury trouble. And being way back down the leaderboard in Atlanta this weekend, one would have to think Berger’s chances are slim.
UPDATE: Davis Love III went with current form and chose Moore, who battled Rory McIlroy to four extra playoff holes on Sunday night before finishing as the runner-up in Atlanta. It's a good pick by Love, bucking the conventional wisdom of Bubba as the selection, and going with the hot hand, which is why this rule late extension were put into place. The rosters:
|Rory McIlroy||Dustin Johnson|
|Danny Willett||Jordan Spieth|
|Henrik Stenson||Phil Mickelson|
|Chris Wood||Patrick Reed|
|Sergio Garcia||Jimmy Walker|
|Justin Rose||Brooks Koepka|
|Rafael Cabrera-Bello||Brandt Snedeker|
|Andy Sullivan||Zach Johnson|
|Matt Fitzpatrick||CAPTAIN'S PICKS|
|CAPTAIN'S PICKS||Rickie Fowler|
|Lee Westwood||Matt Kuchar|
|Martin Kaymer||J.B. Holmes|
|Thomas Pieters||Ryan Moore|
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