HUNTER MAHAN STAYING HOME
Walker: Davis Love III made his captain's picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team last week: Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker. The omission of Hunter Mahan (ninth in points) surprised many, including European captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Would you have picked Mahan for the team? If so, whom would you have left at home?
Morfit: Mahan shot 80 in the third round at the BMW, pretty much making Love look like a genius.
Godich: I have no problem with leaving Mahan home. He won twice before the Masters yet couldn't make the top eight on points. Mahan has nobody to blame but himself. Plus, this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately selection process.
Van Sickle: Great point, Mark. You really have to play lousy to win twice and still miss the team on points.
Shipnuck: Hunter blew it twice: not earning enough points to make the team and then laying an egg during the PGA and the Barclays, when a bunch of other guys were playing great while auditioning for captain's picks.
Bamberger: On a purely individual basis, Hunter must have been hard to pass on. But on a team basis, Furyk makes the team better.
Herre: Olazabal's (mild) surprise was surprising to me. Hadn't he been paying attention to Mahan's poor play? That said, I'm not convinced that Furyk will be much of a factor, and D.J. needs to see Stockton.
Van Sickle: I don't think Olazabal was really surprised. Let the gamesmanship begin.
Hanger: Totally agree Gary. He's trying to make the captain's picks second-guess their worthiness.
Wei: I felt bad for Mahan. He looked out of steam last week in Boston. It almost looked like trying to make the team the last few months took a toll on him. I hope he takes some mental health days in the break before the Tour Championship.
Morfit: I really believe the U.S. would benefit if the Ryder Cup started this week, with a hot Dustin Johnson, a hot Phil Mickelson, a hot Tiger Woods. It's hard to predict how any of these guys will be playing almost three weeks from now.
Van Sickle: Mahan is chillier than a Klondike bar. His wins this year feel like a million years ago. Form isn't everything for the Ryder Cup, but you've got to use it as a tiebreaker. Hence, Mahan and Fowler were out and Johnson, Snedeker and Furyk were in. I wasn't sure Love was going to go with two old warhorses, given Furyk's lack of closing ability this year (Akron, Olympic Club), but then again, aging captains tend to remember their peers from their primes. I wouldn't second-guess the picks. They're the best he could do.
Dusek: I would not have picked Mahan even though I know he would've given his heart and soul to the squad. I have no problem with Davis Love's selection of Stricker, Snedeker and Dustin Johnson, but I would have taken Nick Watney instead of Jim Furyk.
Walker: I think the U.S. has too many wild-card picks. It reminds me of a poker game we used to play in college called Russian Revolution. All red cards are wild, and if you don't have five aces, you should probably fold. It's a stupid game.
Herre: Mike, Azinger's changes to the timing and number of wild-card picks may be his greatest contribution as U.S. captain.
Van Sickle: Right. Four wild-cards are better than two. Olazabal seems penned in by having only two picks. I think it's a potential advantage for the Americans in the long run, and revising the team selection process was the most genius move Azinger did as captain.
Hanger: I think the four picks are huge for the U.S. side. You can get the guys who are hot right now, you can choose guys for specific strengths, you can grab a veteran (or a rookie) to tweak the team dynamic. It might open the door to over-managing, but overall I think it's an advantage for the Americans.
Godich: Look at it this way: With only two wild-card picks, Hunter Mahan is going to Medinah. And if Dustin Johnson is the odd man out, everybody would be talking about how Love had passed over one of the hottest American players.
Wei: I like the four captain's picks, and I think Love made the difficult but correct picks with veteran leadership and guys who are currently hot.
Walker: I'm not against wild cards. I just think it's excessive -- and maybe against the spirit of the Ryder Cup -- to fill a third of the team with them.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Would you have picked Mahan for the U.S. Ryder Cup team?
MORFIT VS. BAMBERGER
Walker: The sunny congeniality of the Confidential crew was shattered this week when Cameron Morfit's column calling Love's captaincy "uninspiring," comparing him unfavorably with 2008 U.S. captain Paul Azinger and predicting a European win at Medinah prompted a pugnacious response from Michael Bamberger, who argued that Love's style as a consensus-builder will make for a strong U.S. team. Who's right?
Morfit: Knew you'd come around.
Godich: Ask me on Sept. 30.
Shipnuck: I think they're both right, but bonus points to Bamby for his glorious personal attacks.
Walker: Totally. I kept hearing Dan Akroyd's voice when reading Michael's column. "Cam, you ignorant..."
Hanger: I think Bamberger wins this one in a knockout. Cam's basic premise, that captains are hugely important to Ryder Cup success, is the first flaw in the argument. And Love's picks were spot-on, as is his demeanor.
Herre: Hard to argue against Azinger. Personally, I think you have to make it personal at the Ryder Cup. I get killed by some for espousing this philosophy -- bad for golf and all that. But, hasn't that been why the Euros have been so successful?
Morfit: I agree, Jim. Love's a nice guy (although our regular hearts game is probably over now), but if the PGA of America cared about winning the Ryder Cup half as much as the Euros do, they'd have rehired Zinger in a heartbeat.
Hanger: I think the captain can make it personal, as in, "this matters and it's us against them." But the captain should also strike a tone of respect for the other side. You don't want it to get ugly. I think Azinger struck a nice balance, and I think Love will too. It's quite possible to be a gentleman and still inspire the troops.
Dusek: Love and Azinger are both extremely competitive, but completely different. I think Love's team is a good reflection of him, and it's filled with guys who will play well for him. I don't think a scrappy, chip-on-their-shoulder squad would fit his style of leadership. Unlike 2008, the United States team is likely to be favored. That will require a little different type of captaincy from Love, so I say Bamberger is correct.
Wei: I think they're both right. (A cop-out answer, I know!) I like that Love has thrown in a friend (Hulbert) and a guy who everyone likes and who will keep things loose (Fred Couples), as well as a legend for a cart driver (Michael Jordan). But there's also an argument to be made that the Ryder Cup captain is the most overrated coaching job in sports.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Who's on the right side of the argument: Morfit, who thinks Love lacks an edge, or Bamberer, who thinks Love is a good fit for the team?