Corey Pavin gambles on Rickie Fowler for Ryder Cup
Both teams are now set for the Ryder Cup in Wales next month after American skipper Corey Pavin named his four captain’s picks to round out his team of 12.
Pavin selected the world’s No1-ranked player, Tiger Woods, as well as 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink, former PGA Championship winner Zach Johnson and one very daring pick in 21-year-old Rickie Fowler, who has not yet won on the PGA Tour.
Woods, Cink and Johnson were expected. Fowler was not. The youngster was selected over others such as Lucas Glover, Sean O’Hair, David Toms, Anthony Kim, Nick Watney, Ben Crane and J.B. Holmes.
Unsurprisingly, most of the questions directed at Pavin concerned the Fowler selection.
“I think he can handle it,” Pavin said, “And that’s why I picked him. I think he’s a very mature young man. He’s had experience in international play. He’s got a very steady head on his shoulders.”
Truth be told, although Woods, Cink and Johnson were easy picks for Pavin, no one really stood out for that 12th and final spot in the US team. No one really stepped up and earned it. As for Woods, this will be his sixth Ryder Cup, but the first he didn’t qualify for.
“Whether I was a person who was picked or a person who earned their way on the squad, it doesn’t change the overall goal,” Woods said. “It’s still the same. And that’s to go over there and win.”
European captain Colin Montgomerie, who made his three captain’s picks a week earlier (Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari), thought Pavin did a good job with his picks.
“Like my European team,” he said, “the American side has an excellent blend of youthful talent alongside some seasoned Ryder Cup campaigners, and I am delighted to see Tiger Woods amongst Corey’s selections. The Ryder Cup is a better event with him in it.”
Both teams are full of rookies. With the addition of Fowler the US side now has five first-timers, and two players, Fowler and Jeff Overton, without any wins on tour. Monty’s Euro squad has six rookies.
Although the Americans won the cup two years ago in the US, they have not won in Europe since 1993 at The Belfry.
2010 Ryder Cup teams in full:
Europe: Lee Westwood, brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Peter Hanson, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Miquel Angel Jimenez and Graeme McDowell.
USA: Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton, Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler.