And soon there will be 12.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will complete his team by naming his last captain’s pick at halftime of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game.
He invited three potential picks to practice last week at Hazeltine National Golf Club with six players already selected: No. 7 world-ranked Bubba Watson and 23-year-olds Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger.
All three are playing at the Tour Championship in Atlanta that both ends the PGA Tour season and the FedEx Cup playoffs on Sunday. A PGA of America task force changed the qualifying procedures for 2016 in an attempt to reverse course after the Americans lost three consecutively and eight of the past 10 Ryder Cups.
Love now gets one final pick the night before both the U.S. and Europe teams arrive at Hazeltine National. It gives him the option to add a player who finished strong. In 2014, Billy Horschel ended the season by winning the BMW and Tour championships and was left off the Ryder Cup team because it had already been finalized.
“I tell you what: Playing the Tour Championship on a Sunday and getting picked to play that next week at the Ryder Cup, that’s a lot of mental gravity right there,” U.S. team member Zach Johnson said the day last month when the top eight automatic qualifiers were determined. “That’s a lot.”
Love disagrees. “I think if I was that guy I’d be pretty excited, fired up,” he said. “When you call that guy and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a bag with your name on it, get on the plane,’ I think he’ll be the most excited of the 12.”