Woods, Mickelson and DeChambeau Given US Ryder Cup Wild Cards
AS EXPECTED, Jim Furyk named Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau as three of his four Ryder Cup wild cards. He could hardly ignore the claims of DeChambeau. The young American with the unique swing only narrowly missed out on automatic selection, and then won the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, the first two tournaments in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
“I was very disappointed not to make the eight automatic selections, but I went away and worked on my game and I found something,” DeChambeau said. During The Open Championship he was seen on the driving range at Carnoustie in despair as he struggled to make the ball do what he wanted it to. It is a tribute to both his character and his talent that he has been able to bounce back in such spectacular fashion.
The selections of Mickelson and Woods were expected.
Mickelson will be making his 12th consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup. The USA have not won an away edition of the biennial contest since 1993, the last an American team that didn't contain Mickelson. He was deeply critical of Tom Watson during and after the 2014 match at Ryder Cup and has played a major part in the shake-up that saw his team beat Europe so comfortably at Hazeltine two years ago. Many thought that, at 48, his days as a player were over, but Mickelson had other ideas.
Like DeChambeau, he finished just outside the automatic positions after a superb run of form early in the season that included victory in the WGC Mexico Championship. “It has really helped having the FedEx Cup in the build-up to the Ryder Cup because it means we all go there feeling sharp,” Mickelson said.
And then there is Woods, who has moved back into the top 30 in the world rankings after superb finishes at The Open, where he actually led going into the back nine in the final round, and at the US PGA Championship, where he finished with a magnificent 64 and was second behind Brooks Koepka. It will be Woods’ eighth appearance in the Ryder Cup - and nobody would have given him a prayer of making the team when he announced his comeback in December last year.
Furyk said: “We are all excited to see Tiger back playing in the Ryder Cup. I have already spent a lot of time with him because we had him as a vice-captain before he played his way in.”
Woods is thrilled to be back. “I made my first team in 1997 in Spain and it was great to see the passion of the late, great Payne Stewart. It made me want to be part of it. I haven’t played in it for a while now but to be taking part again is beyond special. This American team is young with a veteran leader in Phil. It is a great mix of guys. The young guys in the side played a lot of team golf together at college and they are very close. I am just delighted to be part of it again.
“Earlier in the year one of my goals was to make this team as a player, not as a vice-captain. I really wanted to play and as the year has progressed I have gained some traction and achieved some high finishes. It is incredible and to be a part of this team is beyond special."
The three wild cards join Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson in the team for the match at Le Golf National. It is widely expected that Tony Finau will be the 12th member of the US team although Xander Schauffele will give him a run for his money. Finally, the talking is nearly over.
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