The debate over who will secure the final spot on the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team will end this coming Monday. Captain Jim Furyk announced that he will make his final pick after the BMW Championship ends this week.
Team U.S.A. already looks pretty stacked, with a combination of veteran talent and newcomers with a lot of firepower. Tony Finau is the odds-on favorite to secure that coveted final spot, but a lot can change between now and Monday. Here is a closer look at some of the contenders for that last ticket to Paris…
Tony Finau of the United States plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 3, 2018 in Norton, Massachusetts. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
- Age: 28
- Year Turned Pro: 2007
- Wins: 2 (2014 Stonebrae Classic, 2016 Puerto Rico Open)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 4th
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 15th
- Odds: 1/7
According to an article in Golf Digest, Finau has “become one of the most consistent golfers in the world over the past two years.” In addition to his professional wins, his achievements in 2018 include Top-10 finishes in 3 of this year’s 4 major championships, and ten Top-10 finishes this season. He is also currently 3rd on tour in driving distance, 11th in birdies made, and 6th in eagles made.
Finau is a bomber who fits in the Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka mold; a young, long-hitting intimidator who doesn’t make a lot of big mistakes. As stable and consistent as he has been this year, it’s easy to see why he is the most likely candidate to make the team.
Xander Schauffele of the United States plays his shot from the 13th tee during the first round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on September 6, 2018 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
- Age: 24
- Year Turned Pro: 2015
- Wins: 3 (2015 Northern California Open, 2017 Greenbrier Classic, 2017 Tour Championship)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 41st
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 12th
- Odds: 10/1
Xander struggled at the Dell Technologies Championship, limping to a tie for 49th place. This year, however, he has shown some signs of greatness, including 2nd place showings at The Players Championship and The Open Championship.
Captain Furyk has used terms like “solid” and “unflappable” to describe the young Californian. In the Ryder Cup, you need to be solid and unflappable if you want to succeed.
- Age: 26
- Year Turned Pro: 2012
- Wins: 2 (2013 Colombia Championship, 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 12th
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 23rd
- Odds: 20/1
Cantlay has match play experience, representing Team U.S.A. in the 2011 Arnold Palmer Cup (which Team U.S.A. won) and the 2011 Walker Cup. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s talented, he’s had 7 Top-10 finishes this season, but a lot will depend on his performance in the BMW Championship this week.
Brandt Snedeker of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on September 6, 2018 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
- Age: 37
- Year Turned Pro: 2004
- Wins: 13 (including the 2018 Wyndham Championship)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 32nd
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 37th
- Odds: 25/1
There is no substitute for experience, especially in the Ryder Cup, and Sneds has plenty of it.
The 2012 FedEx Cup Champion has represented Team U.S.A. at the 2012 and 2016 Ryder Cups, as well was at the 2008 World Cup and the 2013 President’s Cup. He is the only contender with any prior Ryder Cup experience, and his 4-2-0 record overall is not too shabby.
When he’s hot, he is the best putter in the game right now. Only Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson rank higher on Team U.S.A. in putting than Snedeker.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Snedeker ever since I watched him break down after the 2008 Master’s, and as 2-time Open Champion Willie Park Jr. famously said, “A man who can putt is a match for anyone.”
Gary Woodland of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during round two of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 1, 2018 in Norton, Massachusetts. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
- Age: 34
- Year Turned Pro: 2007
- Wins: 5 (including the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 30th
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 19th
- Odds: 40/1
Woodland has won this year, and, like Finau, Johnson, and Koepka, is known for being long off the tee and steady throughout his game. However, at this point he is a long shot to make the team and would need a pretty convincing performance this week to perhaps change Furyk’s mind.
Kevin Kisner of the United States plays his tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the 100th PGA Championship at the Bellerive Country Club on August 12, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
- Age: 34
- Year Turned Pro: 2006
- Wins: 8 (including the 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational)
- FedEx Cup Ranking: 39th
- Ryder Cup Ranking: 14th
- Odds: 40/1
Kisner has game, and has shown up from time to time this year. His accolades include a 2nd place finish at The WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship and a T2 at The Open Championship. Besides, he has shown the ability to troll his future potential teammates, which may be an asset in the locker room. Still, like some other longshots, he will have to show up big time this week if he wants to make the team.
Ultimately, it’s up to one man to decide who will be the 12th of 12 for this year’s American Ryder Cup Team. Furyk has already made some popular choices, including selecting David Duval, Zach Johnson, and Matt Kuchar as Vice Captains.
His team is strong, American golf is strong, and thankfully we will not have to wait too much longer for the answer to the final question.
Cover Image via Twitter
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