Davis Love III remained coy when asked why he overlooked Bubba Watson when naming three of his four captain’s picks for USA’s Ryder Cup team.
Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes and Matt Kuchar were added to the eight automatic qualifiers for the US team at Hazeltine National, with Watson a surprise omission given he ranks about all three in both the world rankings and Ryder Cup points table.
World no.7 Watson remains the favourite to take the final spot, but is under pressure to impress at next week’s Tour Championship.
When asked why the 37-year-old was omitted, Love said: “We looked at a lot of guys that are in the Tour Championship and some guys that aren’t, and we got a long two weeks ahead of us.
“I’d say the players that are playing in The Tour Championship need to try to win and not think about Ryder Cup points. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve told several players is it’s not a scoring contest for who gets the Ryder Cup pick.
“I’m going to talk to these 11 guys now that we have 11; we’ve got a gameplan, a strategy, and we’re going to work on that over the next two weeks and announce our pick next Sunday night based on what fits best for our team, not really who shoots the lowest scores in the last tournament.
“We’re a sports team and we have to draft the right player for the right position. There’s going to be a lot of stats and a lot of things to look at. But making our pairings, fitting into the team, doing all the little things you’re asked to do, these three guys fill incredible roles and a lot of different roles.”
Love also discussed the role played by Tiger Woods, who has previously been described as the team’s unofficial “tactician”.
“Tiger looks at things from maybe a higher viewpoint than us sometimes,” he added.
“He’s helping us prepare and to think about the golf course. A lot of people would look at the scorecard and say ‘It’s a long course, we need big hitters’, but Tiger looks at it a lot differently.
“Tiger over the last two to three weeks has made us think really hard not only about pairings but about other things that we need to look for in our players.”