U.S. Ryder Cup Team 2008

1 of 12 Todd Bigelow/SI
2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team How do the U.S. and European teams stack up when it comes to the blocking and tackling of golf — long driving, finding the fairway, hitting greens in regulation and holing putts? To find out, we added up each player's rank on his respective tour in those four categories and divided by four. We took that number and, going from lowest total to highest, listed the 24 Ryder Cuppers from one to 24. Voila! The Ryder Cup Rank. (For the two Europeans, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter, who qualify as members of both tours, we combined their U.S. and European rankings total and divided by two.) The players are shown in order of Ryder Cup Rank. (The European team is here.) — Statistics by Sal Johnson, text by Gary Van Sickle Chad Campbell Colleyville, Texas Age: 34 RC Rank: 3 Driving Yds. 288.1 (84th) Fairways Pct. 66.34% (51st) GIR Pct. 67.76% (15th) Putting Avg. 1.759 (21st) Ryder Cup (2) 1-3-2 World Rank 53rd In a straw poll before Paul Azinger made his captain's picks, nearly two dozen writers were asked which four players they would add to the team. Campbell didn't get a single vote. He quietly had a good late summer, though, with three top 10s in the six events before Azinger made his choices. Closing scores of 69 and 66 at the Deutsche Bank were convincing.
2 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
J.B. Holmes Campbellsville, Ky. Age: 26 RC Rank: 21 Driving Yds. 310.4 (3rd) Fairways Pct. 52.50% (199th) GIR Pct. 62.25% (137th) Putting Avg. 1.787 (77th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 55th He teed off with the third-round lead at the PGA Championship, tripled the 1st hole and failed to break 80, but Holmes was still an appealing wild-card pick for Azinger. Holmes is one of the longest hitters on Tour (310.4-yard average), has a nice touch with a wedge and makes a lot of birdies. Plus, he's from the Bluegrass State and has played many rounds at Valhalla.
3 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
Ben Curtis Stow, Ohio Age: 31 RC Rank: 20 Driving Yds. 284.0 (129th) Fairways Pct. 66.81% (46th) GIR Pct. 62.58% (124th) Putting Avg. 1.781 (62nd) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 33rd Curtis is the surprise member of this lineup, thanks to his tie for second at the PGA Championship, at which he earned double points and vaulted into the top eight in the standings. The 2003 British Open champion is inconsistent tee to green and misses a lot of cuts, but he is a consummate scrambler. In Curtis, captain Azinger has a true wild card.
4 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Boo Weekley Jay, Fla. Age: 35 RC Rank: 18 Driving Yds. 291.7 (61st) Fairways Pct. 65.08% (70th) GIR Pct. 67.04% (19th) Putting Avg. 1.839 (200th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 35th A strong first half of the season earned Weekley his first spot on a Ryder Cup squad. His country-boy demeanor and self-deprecating style make him a popular addition to the team. He ranks among the Tour's best ball strikers, though his putting can be spotty. He won at Harbour Town and had four other top 10 finishes. The bad news is, he hasn't done much since.
5 of 12 Simon Bruty/SI
Jim Furyk Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Age: 38 RC Rank: 16 Driving Yds. 279.7 (170th) Fairways Pct. 69.68% (26th) GIR Pct. 66.80% (21st) Putting Avg. 1.799 (124th) Ryder Cup (5) 6-12-2 World Rank 13th Furyk is so tough that you'd expect him to be a match play killer, but while he has lost only once in five singles matches, he's been on the winning side in just three of 15 team matches. Surprisingly, he doesn't have a Tour win this year. He struggled with his putting at times, but his consistent ball striking enabled him to have seven top 10 finishes.
6 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
Hunter Mahan Plano, Texas Age: 26 RC Rank: 14 Driving Yds. 287.3 (93rd) Fairways Pct. 66.11% (54th) GIR Pct. 69.18% (5th) Putting Avg. 1.813 (160th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 37th Mahan didn't follow up last year's breakthrough victory at Hartford with any wins in '08, but he's an excellent iron player and ranks fifth on Tour in greens hit in regulation. His knack for shooting low scores is also impressive. Look for Azinger to reprise the Mahan-Stricker pairing that went 2-0 at last year's Presidents Cup.
7 of 12 John Biever/SI
Phil Mickelson Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Age: 38 RC Rank: 12 Driving Yds. 295.4 (38th) Fairways Pct. 55.57% (185th) GIR Pct. 65.79% (40th) Putting Avg. 1.767 (33rd) Ryder Cup (6) 9-12-4 World Rank 2nd Mickelson has had an O.K. year, for him — two wins, five other top 10s — but problems with his driver kept him from filling the void created by the injury to Tiger. Mickelson has spent too much time in the left rough and has been an inconsistent putter. Now he's facing Ryder Cup scar tissue: He's 3-9-2 in the last three Cups and hasn't won in singles since 1999.
8 of 12 John Biever/SI
Anthony Kim Dallas Age: 23 RC Rank: 10 Driving Yds. 300.2 (12th) Fairways Pct. 58.77% (158th) GIR Pct. 64.76% (67th) Putting Avg. 1.766 (29th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 15th Unless Mickelson gets his game sorted out, Kim may prove to be the horse that pulls the U.S. squad. He has two victories this year while showcasing an impressive game. He's long off the tee (ranked 12th in distance), has a deft touch around the greens, is a good putter and has a killer instinct. By next year he may be the No. 2 American, behind Tiger Woods (sorry, Phil).
9 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Justin Leonard Dallas Age: 36 RC Rank: 9 Driving Yds. 279.9 (168th) Fairways Pct. 66.84% (45th) GIR Pct. 66.06% (33rd) Putting Avg. 1.757 (18th) Ryder Cup (2) 0-3-5 World Rank 23rd Leonard hasn't been on a team since he holed the Ryder Cup's most famous putt, in 1999, and the U.S. has lost three in a row without him. Coincidence? That winless match record says yes. Leonard has returned to his original swing and seems rejuvenated. Plus he's still one of the best putters and chippers on Tour, which makes him a tough foe in match play.
10 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Stewart Cink Duluth, Ga. Age: 35 RC Rank: 8 Driving Yds. 296.3 (29th) Fairways Pct. 56.40% (179th) GIR Pct. 67.47% (18th) Putting Avg. 1.765 (28th) Ryder Cup (3) 3-5-4 World Rank 9th Cink provided one of the few U.S. highlights at the '06 Ryder Cup, thumping Sergio Garcia in a satisfying but irrelevant singles match. Few players wield a long putter better than Cink, who is also an excellent iron player, especially mid-irons. However, he has cooled off since he won in Hartford in late June, with no top 30 finishes since then.
11 of 12 Todd Bigelow/SI
Kenny Perry Franklin, Ky. Age: 48 RC Rank: 5 Driving Yds. 295.6 (36th) Fairways Pct. 62.09% (111th) GIR Pct. 67.92% (13th) Putting Avg. 1.771 (40th) Ryder Cup (1) 0-2-0 World Rank 17th Perry was the game's King of Summer, winning the Memorial, the Buick Open and the John Deere Classic over a two-month stretch during which he played the best golf of his career. Making this team at age 48 was a dream he made happen. Playing in his home state will either lift his game or add even more pressure.
12 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Steve Stricker Madison, Wis. Age: 41 RC Rank: 23 Driving Yds. 283.6 (134th) Fairways Pct. 56.36% (181st) GIR Pct. 63.72% (91st) Putting Avg. 1.782 (64th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 8th Stricker's yearlong run of good play in 2007 carried into early '08, and he reached No. 3 in the World Ranking before a late-spring minislump. He's a very good iron player, did well in two Presidents Cups (5-5-0) and is one of the Tour's better putters. He's had a few unpleasant meltdowns — such as the final rounds of last year's U.S. (76) and British (74) Opens. See the Ryder Cup Ranks for the European team