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Steve Stricker, 2012 PGA
Darren Carroll / SI
Steve Stricker didn't qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team on points, but figures to be one of Davis Love's captain's picks.

KIAWAH'S SAND RULE
Godich: If case you hadn't heard, the sandy areas at the Ocean course were played as through the green. Players were allowed to ground their club and test the surface with practice swings. I think it's time for the USGA and the R&A to adopt this rule for all sand traps. Tell me why this is such a bad idea.

Shipnuck: Because golf is slow enough without jabronis taking eight practice swings in every bunker.

Herre: My only concern would be adequate grooming. It's one thing to have a rule like this in effect at an event that probably had 100 volunteers raking every footprint, but such vigilance might not take place at your local course.

Godich: Who said they wouldn't be raked?

Dusek: Unlike weekend warriors, Tour players would much rather be in the sand than in the rough, so the advantage of being able to ground your club, make practice swings and remove loose impediments would just make bunkers even easier for Tour pros to play from. The Ocean Course is unique venue, so I had no problem with the local rule being employed. Now, if we want to have one set of rules for professionals and another set of rules for amateurs, then I might reconsider, but that's never going to happen.

Hanger: You just blew my mind with that question. Because it's always been that way I guess? I was actually wondering if it would somehow mess the pros up this week to ground their clubs in the sand because it's not what they're used to doing.

Garrity: I'm guessing that you'd never see another fried-egg lie if amateurs could ground their club behind the ball. Every sand wedge would become a spatula.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: To eliminate confusion, should bunkers always be played "through the green"?

U.S. RYDER CUP TEAM TAKES SHAPE
Godich: Finally, the eight automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team have been filled. Now comes the hard part. Davis Love III has some interesting decisions to make with his four captain's picks. Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler are among the guys who are on the outside looking in. Tell Davis the player who absolutely, positively has to be at Medinah at the end of September, and explain why.

Gorant: D.J. is nowhere right now.

Shipnuck: D.J., to attack in four-ball matches. Stricker, to hole putts and be Tiger's man-servant. Fowler, for his fight and versatility in either team format. Mahan, for his great ballstriking, and no one will be more motivated to earn points.

Reiterman: Steve Stricker and his putter have to be at Medinah.

Bamberger: Fred Couples. I cannot think of another golfer who would help the U.S. team more.

Hanger: Love that suggestion, and how about Love himself? Shoot, get Tom Watson out there!

Herre: Fred will be there -- as an assistant captain. Also, Stricker always plays well in the Midwest. He's a no-brainer pick.

Bamberger: Fred as a playing partner is what I'm talking about. Fred in singles, 18 holes, is even money against any Euro right down to Rory McIlroy his own self. (Sorry, D.J.)

Garrity: If I'm Davis, I don't go to Chicago without Stricker's wedge and putter. My theory is to get great putters and long-ball guys when we play it here, great putters and straight drivers when we play in Europe. But great putters, always.

Hanger: I guess I like Mahan out of that group, having won the Match Play and all. The guys I'd normally be excited about -- Stricker for his putting, Furyk for his mettle, D.J. for his ability to overpower, and Rickie for his fun factor - have not played their characteristic games of late.

Godich: Doesn't have to be out of that group. You could take John Daly.

Hanger: Daly would be great for ratings. I know I'd be interested to see how that played out. You want the hot hand, we always say, so maybe we need to just sit back and see who wins the next few weeks.

Dusek: Rickie Fowler. I have no doubt that Hunter Mayhan and Steve Stricker will get captain's picks, but Davis Love liked what he saw from Rickie Fowler in Wales two years ago and knows that a confident Fowler could be a handful in match play. The guy is ultra aggressive and can make a lot of birdies, and everyone in the team room loves him.

Walker: The next four in points -- Mahan, Stricker, Furyk, Fowler -- are the best choices, but Stricker is the must-pick because of his ability to play with Tiger.

Ritter: My one pick would be Stricker, but he's a lock. For what it's worth, the two best American putters not already on the team, according to the Tour stats, are Ben Curtis and Brandt Snedeker.

Herre: The real news is that all the key Americans made the top eight. I like our side a lot.

Dusek: As Jim points out, because the necessary Americans qualified automatically, Love has the luxury of using his four picks to really tinker and fine tune the overall makeup of his team. It's an enviable position.

Hanger: Very true. What a team. Ryan was comparing these guys to the 2006 team, which included Chad Campbell, Vaughn Taylor, J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich. The yanks have come a long way in six years.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What one player does Love need to add to the U.S. Ryder Cup team?

 

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