So I know I’m a couple of days behind on this…but let’s be honest, you come to Game Under Repair for cutting, insightful golf commentary, not breaking news. So with that in mind, I present to you my thoughts on Paul Azinger’s picks for the Ryder Cup.
Before we start, let’s list the exempted eight players who had already qualified for the Ryder Cup: Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis, and Boo Weekley.
Now, let’s take a look at Captain Zinger’s four picks.
Steve Stricker:This one was pretty obvious. Stricker sat in 9th place in the Ryder Cup Standings, and just missed automatically qualifying. He’s been one of the most consistent and steady players over the last two years. If you look at how Stricker has played recently, he has two top 10s in the playoff events. And also of note, he finished T7 at the British Open a couple of months ago. Stricker is a solid pick. I like his game. I like his name. And, as I’ve mentioned before, he’s one of the few pro golfers my wife has heard of. So that’s gotta be good.
Hunter Mahan: Though he looked like the cheesiest guy on earth in his Golf Magazine interview, (an interview in which he ripped the Ryder Cup) with a hoodie and sunglasses on in his photo, trying to be a “cool rebel” type, Mahan’s played very well recently and deserved this spot. The main thing about Mahan is that he can go low, low, low, exemplified in his first round 64 at The Barclays. But he tends to back those low rounds up with some mediocre 73s and 74s. The man can make birdies, and that’s what you want in match play. He should be fun to watch. But please, Hunter, leave the hoodie and sunglasses at home. You’re a golfer, not a cheeseball dancer on MTV or some reality show.
Chad Campbell: I can’t get a feel for this one. Campbell has played pretty well recently, with three top 10s in his last six tournaments, including a missed cut at the PGA. But of all the players available, was Campbell the best pick? He was 20th in the standings, with players like Woody Austin and DJ Trahan well ahead of him. This one could burn Captain Azinger, but hopefully Campbell will hold his own. The rap on him is that he’s a great ballstriker, but a so-so putter. Let’s hope he gets it rolling at Valhalla.
J.B. Holmes: I’ll go on record saying I don’t like this pick. If Zinger wanted to go down the list a little, and not pick Austin or Trahan, why not Brandt Snedeker? The thinking here is Holmes, of course, is the Tour’s longest driver on a course made for long drivers, and Valhalla is his home course. But the guy just makes me nervous. Watching that first hole at the PGA Championship about made me throw up. It’s like Holmes just lost his mind. And as much of a scene as a major is, the Ryder Cup is even more so. Can he handle the intense spotlight? Pair him with a veteran like Furyk and maybe he’ll be okay. But It seems to me like he just swings for the fences and doesn’t think much. I don’t like this pick.
This has always been one of my favorite sporting events to watch. It’s like the Olympics of golf. So much passion and tension, and the crowds are almost like football crowds. It’s really unlike any golf tournament.
Two more weeks before it all kicks off up the road in Louisville. I’ll have a Ryder Cup preview in two weeks, and I also want to point out a few reasons why all of you non-golfers should watch this tournament. It’s like golf on steroids. But we’ll talk about that later.
Have a good one…