U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has a daunting job ahead of him: filling the four spots on his squad reserved for wildcard picks. Who’s on DLIII’s short list? Presumably he already has his favorites — and we have ours. Each day in the run-up to Sept. 12, when Love will announce three of his picks (he won’t name his final pick until Sept. 26, the Monday after the Tour Championship), a GOLF.com staffer will make the case for a player who deserves the nod. Up next, Ryan Moore. Who do you think belongs on the team? Let us know here.
Is it just me, or does this year’s Ryder Cup captain’s pick process seem a bit more political than in years past? Since the automatic qualifiers were announced, the bubble boys have been openly lobbying Captain Davis Love III through the media, brandishing the kind of nationalism usually reserved for the Fourth of July. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Rickie Fowler slapped on a “Make America Golf Again” hat and promised to “get tough” with Europe.
After back-to-back-to-back losses, the last of which was a seemingly lackluster effort derailed by infighting, the PGA of America promised to turn the tide, offering hope and change through a renewed commitment to the event. There was a summit. A task force. A committee. It didn’t take long for the players to get the hint and start waving the flag like candidates on the campaign trail.
But last time I checked, patriotism doesn’t earn points. Putts do. So Love should add Ryan Moore to his Ryder Cup roster.
The 33-year-old PGA Tour veteran has steadfastly refused, time and again, to utter a single word in support of his Ryder Cup claim. “It’s something I would love, and I do enjoy match play and team events and all that stuff,” Moore told the Golf Channel. “But the reality is, I have to play my way on. It’s very clear to me that that’s what needs to happen, and that’s what I want to do.” He even declined, through his manager, to be interviewed for this piece. So if Moore won’t make his case, I’ll make it for him.
Since the PGA Championship, Moore has played significantly better golf than any of the other players on Love’s radar. Period. He would be a Ryder Cup rookie, yes, but he owns a solid match-play record in both professional and amateur events, with two top-five finishes in the WGC-Match Play Championship and U.S. Amateur, Public Links and Western Amateur titles on his resume. He’s also no stranger to international team competitions, having represented Team USA in the Walker Cup, Palmer Cup and Eisenhower Trophy.
He’s consistently been a steady putter, making him a smart pair for a bomber like Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson or J.B. Holmes who struggles with the flatstick. And when an American is facing a downhill five-footer to secure a crucial point against a confident European duo, who do you want standing over the ball? The guy who talked the talk, or the guy who can putt?
Moore prefers to let his clubs do the talking. Love should listen.