The 12 players for the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team are set. U.S. Captain Jim Furyk used his final pick to select Tony Finau, a long hitter who has been near the top of leaderboards all season long.
“What an unbelievable body of work this year,” Furyk said about Finau at RyderCup.com. “All the top-10 finishes, the play in the big championships and the majors, and then the current form, with a second, a fourth and an eighth [in the playoffs]….I’m excited to add him to the team. Tony played well in big moments this year.”
Meanwhile, Finau said he had goosebumps after receiving the captain’s phone call at the conclusion of the BMW Championship won by Keegan Bradley.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Finau said. “I don’t know if I can really put it into words. All the emotions that come with accomplishing something like that … man, it’s a dream come true for me.”
Finau will join his 11 U.S. teammates for the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris, France. The matches with Captain Thomas Bjorn’s European team begin on September 28. The Americans haven’t won a Ryder Cup away from home in a quarter century.
“I look forward to the opportunity to help the USA bring the Cup back,” Finau said. “It’s been a long time. That’s something that our captain has stressed to us. It’s one of his goals, so we’re going to do our best to accomplish that.”
Announced a week earlier, Captain Furyk’s other picks were Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Following is the complete U.S. squad.
2018 US Ryder Cup Team
Automatic qualifiers based on points:
2018 Ryder Cup Captain’s Picks
The United States has good recent Ryder Cup memories. The last time out, in 2016, they trounced Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine in Minnesota. But one solid effort doesn’t constitute a trend. Before their recent victory the American boys had lost three in a row, six of seven and eight of 10, including an embarrassing defeat in 2012 when they folded on Sunday after building a 10-6 lead. This is no time to be overconfident.
Jim Furyk’s Captain’s Picks
One could say that DeChambeau, Mickelson and Woods were easy picks for Captain Furyk. Following the eight automatic qualifiers, the three men occupied spots nine, 10 and 11 in the U.S. Ryder Cup point standings. That in itself gave Furyk cover.
— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) September 4, 2018
Gary Van Sickle of MORNING READ wrote, “Jim Furyk had to feel less like the U.S. Ryder Cup captain and more like Captain Obvious.”
Golf writer Jeff Babineau described Furyk’s first three picks as “the game’s hottest performer, the No. 2 putter on the PGA Tour this season and a 14-time major winner who has been the most dominant golfer of his generation.”
It’s hard to argue with that.
DeChambeau clearly earned his spot and will bring a fresh attitude along with his recent torrid play to the U.S. side. In addition to boosting ratings as some have cynically pointed out, 48-year-old Phil and 42-year-old Tiger have plenty to offer the 2018 Ryder Cup. Both have had surprisingly good seasons and will bring intangibles such as experience and leadership to the U.S. team. They also realize time is running out and want to win the Cup more than ever, especially on European soil.
“To have an opportunity to go to Europe and to have an opportunity to win a Ryder Cup,” Tiger said, “and we haven’t done it in 25 years over there, and to be part of this group of guys to have that opportunity to go there, it’s exciting, it really is.”
Finally, last-man-in Finau is supremely talented and well-liked, someone who could be paired with a lot of teammates. Even the player who built a solid case to be picked instead of Finau likes Finau.
“Tony is an ATM or top-10 machine, you know,” said Xander Schauffele, who ranked 12th in the points standings. “He’s been killing it and playing great golf. I feel like if I were Jim [Furyk] right now, I would pick him, to be completely honest.”
First it’s on to Atlanta for the Tour Championship beginning September 20. And then the eight qualifiers and four picks will jet to Paris for the 28 matches that will decide who will possess the Ryder Cup for the next two years.
Some young, some old, those 12 men and their captains desperately want to bring that silver chalice back to the United States for the first time in a long time. Will they do it?
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