Edition 1501
17 November 2018
Edition: 1501

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Delayed picks

by Neil Connolly, in Sport · 30-08-2018 10:24:00 · 0 Comments

For the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup our European Captain has the chance to pick four players for his team to go with the eight which will have been finalised the week commencing Monday 3 September.

Delayed picks

This leaves the final four picks to be made by Thomas Bjørn the week commencing 10 September. On the other side of the pond the selection is slightly different as Captain Furyk has his selection staggered, with three being picked the week beginning 3 September and the final pick the following week.
This final pick is important to the Americans as it has been put in place to avoid the ‘Horschel effect’ which occurred four years ago when Billy Horschel was the hottest player on the planet, winning the FedEx Playoffs and picking up the 10 million prize fund. Yet all of his endeavours were too late as the shutter had come down on the ‘picks’ and it was time done on the automatic selection period. It could be argued that he is the most on form player never to have played in the Ryder Cup. Whether he would have played is another matter as his wife was pregnant and gave birth, two days after the Tour Championship had concluded. To have asked his missus for a ‘Hall Pass’ to the Gleneagles Ryder Cup may have been a bridge too far.
However, the changes of the number of picks and the timings of their introduction to the team is significant as each captain wants to make sure that their team is not only the strongest but is carrying the hottest amount of form into the event. Which leads onto an interesting change where the tournaments being played at the latter end of the season, closest to the Ryder Cup, will have a heavier points weighting, again in an effort to allow the more in form players qualification into the team.
All of this has been done from the inside, by Captain Bjørn himself in his role of Chairman of the Tournament Committee (for the past ten years). Canny stuff from the quietly spoken ‘Great Dane’, wouldn’t you agree?
Yet all of the posturing and positioning regarding the picks and the timings was really to give the Captains a chance to include the hotter players a chance to play. Yet when does the ‘hot rookie’ outweigh the ‘tried and tested’ pick. This is where the job of the Captain becomes so difficult. We can, in the coming weeks, easily have the debate as to who should be in and who should be out. Yet it is the Captain’s job to pick, it is also his job to say no too. The classic yin and yang for the selector.
The four picks at the moment for Bjørn are between five players (according to the bookies). The general consensus is that Garcia and Stenson will get two, experience trumping form in this case. Justin Rose will more than likely have had a word in the Captain’s ear making the case for Stenson’s inclusion due to their excellent pairing record. Garcia, well there are few more experienced than the Spaniard, a powerful locker room presence to help the team gel together.
The other three players widely tipped for the remaining two are; Casey, Poulter and Cabrera Bello. All have experience, Poulter notably gaining his nick- name as the “Postman” because he always delivers a point.
Yet, going back to the initial point, the original point of the delayed picks and having a third of the team comprised of picks was so that players exhibiting a rich vein of form could be included. If the four picks go to players who are not in that purple patch, having these picks at such a late stage renders them almost useless.
With Sergio already out of the FedEx playoffs and Stenson, Poulter and Cabrera Bello unlikely to make it to final thirty in the Tour Championship at East Lake, it doesn’t look like the ‘picks’ are going to be carrying a head of steam in the Matches.
Yet, wait a minute, there are still two tournaments left to go until the picks are finalised. That’s enough time for our guys to find some form and make a case for inclusion. Isn’t it?
Let’s hope that they make it easy for Thomas, because if they don’t he will have at least a couple of uncomfortable calls to make.

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Edition 1501
17 November 2018
Edition: 1501

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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