Thursday, February 23, 2012
The 3Jack Golf US Ryder Cup Team - 2.20.12
Back in January, I wrote a piece on who I would like to see on the US Ryder Cup team. http://richie3jack.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=blog&action=display&thread=3143
The basic principles in selection were:
1. Favor players with a good track record in the Ryder Cup.
2. Favor young, unknown players over veterans with a poor Ryder Cup record.
3. Look for Good Putters
4. Favor players who are better at avoiding bogeys than those players who are good at making birdies
Back in January, my ‘picks’ were:
Out of that selection, I’m now leaning towards removing the following players:
Nick Watney – He does not look anywhere near like his 2011-self and struggled in the Majors in 2011. Obviously, not counting him out but I don’t like how he has started off the year.
David Toms – Currently averaging 103.8 mph of clubhead speed according to the PGATour.com’s Trackman data. I doubt that he’s THAT slow, but at this age he may have seen his clubhead speed dip nonetheless and that could be a cause for concern at the lengthy Medinah Golf Club.
Gary Woodland – Has not looked like his 2011-self. May be due to the swing instructor change and making some tweaks here and there.
Rickie Fowler – A little too inconsistent for my tastes at this point. Makes a lot of birdies, but too many bogeys.
Here would be my replacements as of *now*.
I would not favor Mickelson because of his ‘experience’, but rather his play. As I wrote in 2011 Pro Golf Synopsis, experience does not do a player much good if they have a poor Ryder Cup track record.
It appears that Mickelson has finally accepted the fact that trying to ram every putt actually hurts his odds of making the putt because his capture speed becomes far less than optimal. Currently, he’s ranked 15th in putting and is having a good year in the Birdie Zone and has always been a strong Danger Zone player. He’s still best suited for the low-score format versus alternate shot, but I would feel much more comfortable with him on the team if he keeps playing at the pace he has been playing at recently.
I feel a bit silly now having predicted that Bradley could possibly slide in 2012. He’s a tremendous driver of the ball. He hits it long, accurately and consistently. He also hits it quite high. The difference between him and another high ball hitter like JB Holmes is that Bradley is just much much more consistent.
However, his Zone play were poor in 2011 and I felt that if that didn’t improve, he would struggle all year long. This year he’s 15th in the Birdie Zone, 86th in the Safe Zone and 53rd from the Danger Zone. He’s also 31st in Putts Gained. Lastly, I believe that he will fit Medinah quite well as it’s a course that usually requires long and precise driving of the golf ball.
While I appear to be off on my Bradley projection for 2012, I appear to be on the mark with my projected breakout year for Kyle Stanley. The only thing that concerns me about Stanley is that his putting is pretty average (91st in Putts Gained). But, he’s a player that just hits everything well and is probably a top-5 ballstriker on either the PGA or European Tour right now, ranking 25th in Adv. Total Driving, 32nd from the Birdie Zone, 97th from the Safe Zone, 10th from the Danger Zone while generating 118 mph of clubhead speed.
Again, I favor putting for the Ryder Cup. Currently, Crane leads the Tour in Putts Gained and has always been considered an excellent putter. His ballstriking worries me for now given that the best ranking he has is 107th from the Danger Zone. However, he’s driving the ball pretty well (64th). I do question his slow play and if it will throw off his playing partner. Although it could throw off the Europeans just as much. Put him together with Zach Johnson and you may start to figure out the meaning of life by the time they finish their match.