Building a World Class Team: 1969
|Team USA Ryder Cup Update, August 25, 2014:|
Mark Aumann, PGA.com
United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson's list of possible captain's picks grew a bit shorter when Tiger Woods formally withdrew his name from consideration.
Woods admitted his injuries will keep him from playing competitive golf, at least until the end of the year. So that ends Tiger's Ryder Cup tale, at least for 2014.
Injuries have also put an end to vice-captain Steve Stricker's hopes of making the team as a player. A hip injury has forced him to be sidelined until December at the earliest, but he will be at Gleneagles.
And Jason Dufner's situation is still tenuous at best. His neck injury caused him to withdraw from the PGA Championship, and there's no guarantee he'll be healthy by the time Watson needs to choose the final three spots on Sept. 2.
So where does Watson go from here? He spelled it out in his latest blog:
"I've laid down the gauntlet for those who want to be on the team: Play well and I'll give you a look. Don't play well and I won't."
Hunter Mahan may get a very good look from Watson after winning The Barclays and moving into the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. Mahan's motivation may stem from the fact that he finished ninth in 2012 Ryder Cup standings but wasn't chosen as one of captain Davis Love's four picks that year.
Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson tied for fifth at the Wyndham Championship, but missed the cut at The Barclays. What they do for the rest of the season may sway Watson one way or the other.
Brendon Todd, Harris English and Ryan Moore -- all sitting in or just outside of the top 25 in FedExCup points heading into the Deutsche Bank -- can go a long ways toward securing a captain's pick with a strong finish to the season.
So who will the final three be? We may not know until Watson steps up to the microphone in New York on Sept. 2.
But that's part of the Ryder Cup mystique, much like the way the final hole of the 1969 Ryder Cup played out at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, when Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin set the stage for one of the most remarkable finishes in Ryder Cup history.