Ryder Cup 2016: How Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Matt Kuchar will help the Americans
CHASKA, Minn. -- Like never before, Ryder Cup USA Captain Davis Love III has insisted, there has been a rock, solid plan for the Americans in the 2016 Ryder Cup.
That was refreshing news for American fans who have watched their side lose all but two Ryder Cups (1999 and 2008) since a 1995 defeat to the Europeans at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.
After August 28 when the top eight automatic qualifiers were in, there were four missing pieces -- Captain's Picks -- for Love.
Love filled in three of those missing pieces on Monday at Hazeltine National -- site of the matches in just over two weeks -- by adding Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes and Matt Kuchar to his roster as Captain's Picks.
"This is a tough decision," Love said Monday. "There were many great choices. I know this is the 11 we want today, and we have another tough decision coming up in two weeks, but we are really excited about where we are today."
Love will complete his team with the fourth and final Captain's Pick in the hours after the Tour Championship concludes on Sept. 25. The Americans will fly to Minneapolis the next morning for Ryder Cup week.
Assembled as they are now, Brooks Koepka is the only rookie on the American team. The last time the U.S. side featured just one rookie was in 1999 with David Duval, then the No. 2-ranked player in the world.
WATCH BELOW: Davis Love III makes his first three captain's picks
Here's a closer look at Love's first three selections and how they can help the American side.
1. Rickie Fowler
Final Ryder Cup ranking: 11
Ryder Cup experience: 2010, 2014
Ryder Cup record: 0-3-5
What he brings: Depending on how you look at things, Fowler's selection is either surprising or not surprising at all. Let's start with the latter. Fowler is one of the most well-respected younger players on the PGA Tour. He's a leader. He was the youngest member of the Ryder Cup Task Force team that was assembled to "fix things." He was inside the top 8 for much of the year. Because of all those things, the Fowler nod wasn't a big a surprise. Now, here's why it was a bit of a surprise -- he hasn't played exceptional golf in a while now. After a T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship, Fowler missed the cut in three consecutive starts, beginning with the Players Championship where he was the defending champion. His only two top-10 finishes in 11 starts since the Wells Fargo where a T10 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a T7 at the Barclays in the FedExCup Playoffs-opener. He's not riding a hot streak and -- in two Ryder Cups played -- he still has yet to chalk up a win. Why then could Fowler potentially be the right choice? It all goes back to chemistry. Fowler is the type of player who can pair up with anyone. "We found no weaknesses in his game," Love said Monday at Hazeltine. "He's such a great teammate. He's really confident on the big stage as we've seen in the Olympics, but like in Dubai, he plays well all over the world; he travels well, brings a lot of intangibles to our team."
In 2014 at Gleneagles, Fowler and Jimmy Walker were the only players to appear in all five matches for the Americans -- playing together in both the foursomes and fourballs matches. Likeable, calming and used to the big stage (remember his top-5 finishes in each of the 2014 majors?) are all qualities that make Fowler a deserving pick. He could prove to be the star of a team at Hazeltine that desperately needs a win.
2. J.B. Holmes
Final Ryder Cup ranking: 10
Ryder Cup experience: 2008
Ryder Cup record: 2-0-1
What he brings: Holmes boasts one stat that none of his other teammates (outside of Brooks Koepka, making his Ryder Cup debut) can: He has only ever been a member of a winning U.S. team. Holmes helped the Americans to their last victory to date when the matches were played at Valhalla in his home state of Kentucky (2008). Furthermore, Holmes has been on four U.S. national teams total, playing the Walker Cup (2005) and Palmer Cup (2005) as an amateur, as well as the Presidents Cup (2015) to go along with the Ryder Cup (2008) as a professional. Those four teams that he was a member of are a perfect 4-0 in those matches. Holmes just missed out on qualifying for the team on points.
"He's so steady, he's easy to pair," Love said. "He's consistent and he's been on a winning Ryder Cup Team before in the past."
Holmes accumulated most of his points thanks to a T4 in the Masters and a third-place finish in the Open Championship. Points were worth double at the majors. Holmes hit a slump right after the Open, missing the cut in three consecutive starts. He came around in the FedExCup Playoffs and cemented his place on the team with a T4 on Sunday at the BMW Championship. Holmes -- a four-time winner on the PGA Tour -- is most well known for his booming drives. His approach to the green and putting leave something to be desired, but he could certainly be freed up on the greens with a partner who rolls the rock exceptionally well.
3. Matt Kuchar
Final Ryder Cup ranking: 12
Ryder Cup experience: 2010, 2012, 2014
Ryder Cup record: 4-5-2
What he brings: This will be Kuchar's fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. He collected two full points for the Americans under Captain Love in 2012 at Medinah, and -- like others -- is eager to have the opportunity to avenge that loss. "He has a great, great attitude for match play," Love said. "He's a great partner. Like J.B., he's consistent. He's easy to pair."
Kuchar has been a stalwart in national teams between the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup over the last several years. He also recently collected a bronze medal at the Rio Games. Kuchar's biggest strength might actually be between his ears. His attitude is perfect for the pressure cooker that is a Ryder Cup. He never gets too excited and never gets too down when things aren't going his way. Kuchar can pair well with anyone and has the ability to be able to pump them up and settle them down -- whichever of those two the situation calls for.