Final Ryder Cup pick comes down to best ‘fit’ says Davis Love III

US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III insists his final pick will be the best fit and not necessarily the best player.

The 52-year-old filled three of the remaining four spots at Hazeltine with Matt Kuchar, JB Holmes and Rickie Fowler.

It left two-time Masters champion and world number seven Bubba Watson left to sweat over Love’s final choice, which will be made on September 25 immediately after the season-ending Tour Championship.

The event gives the big-hitting left-hander the chance to stake his claim but Love admits he is also considering players who are not playing in that tournament - which comprises the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings.

He refused to rule out a wildcard selection for vice-captain Jim Furyk, who missed a chunk of the season with a wrist injury but still managed to shoot a PGA tour record 58 last month, although Kuchar’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion his good friend Tiger Woods, also a vice- captain, could yet sneak in will definitely not happen.

“If my team needed a quarterback and I drafted a running back I’d be in big trouble,” said Love, who was captain when Europe staged their stunning comeback victory in the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ four years ago.

“We looked at a lot of factors making the picks to make sure they fit in and it is not necessarily the guy with the best putting stats or the longest driver.

“The guys on our list are in and out of Tour Championship. I am not limiting myself.

“I would say players playing in the Tour Championship need to think about winning the Tour Championship and not to think about Ryder Cup points. It is not a scoring contest for who gets the pick.

“We’ve got a strategy and we are going to work on that in the next two weeks and announce what best fits our team, not who shoots the best score in that tournament.

“I’ve had to make the tough decisions before. The captain’s job is to make tough decisions.”

Love has not spoken to Watson about his decision not to select him at this stage but, conversely, he speaks to Furyk regularly.

Asked whether the current situation with his assistant captain was awkward, Love added: “He wants to play really badly. He won’t let up, he works really hard on his game. We’ve had a lot of awkwardness in the last year and a half.

“We never thought Tiger Woods would be an assistant captain, we thought he would be playing. That’s a little awkward. If Jim had played a full schedule there is a high chance he would have made the top eight (for automatic selection).

“He still has to be in the mix. There’s been some awkward conversations with him but we’ve told him not to put his clubs away just yet.”

Love was full of praise for the way 14-time major winner Woods had taken to a backroom role while he awaits his comeback to competitive golf after injury. He has been amazingly involved,” he said.

Fowler, Kuchar and Holmes’ selection adds Ryder Cup experience: for Kuchar this will be his fourth in succession, Fowler played in 2010 and 2014 while Holmes has the least history but is the only one to have recorded a win on his only previous outing in 2008 at Valhalla.

Kuchar is determined to improve his record, especially after 2012. “It stinks to have to be picked as this is my first time and it’s not a pleasant,” said the 38-year-old. “I was part of the team at Medinah and I can’t wait to make amends and bring the cup home.”

Fowler, who has yet to win a Ryder Cup point in eight attempts, was probably the most relieved to hear from Love after flying to his Florida home disappointed at his performance at the BMW.

“I got a text from Davis asking if I could pop on a phone call and I had to make him wait for a few minutes as we were on a plane but it made the day a lot better after just missing out on East Lake,” said Fowler.


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner