Who is the most surprising omission from the U.S. Ryder Cup team?
Hawk’s take: Webb Simpson comes the closest to qualifying as a snub, which is another way of saying captain Steve Stricker used each of his six picks sensibly and purposefully. Any player who fails to win a PGA Tour event during a Ryder Cup calendar year has no legitimate reason to gripe. Such was the case with Simpson, who finished 13th in the U.S. standings and would never complain about failing to get an at-large berth, anyway.
He’s currently 20th in the Official World Golf Ranking — one spot behind Patrick Reed, who also didn’t make the team, and one ahead of Scottie Scheffler, who did. Simpson’s best finish in 21 starts was a T-4 at the Sony Open. He didn’t have a poor season by any means, but it wasn’t among his best, either. His 4-4-1 record in three previous Ryder Cups wasn’t enough to persuade Stricker, and the fact that Simpson ranked 177th in driving distance probably killed any chance he had of making it to Whistling Straits.
Strick digs the long ball. Simpson’s lack of inclusion testifies to the strength of this U.S. squad from top to bottom.
Purk’s take: Frankly, I was perplexed that Sam Burns wasn’t chosen by Stricker, especially over Scottie Scheffler.
It can’t be that Burns isn’t a good putter. He’s fourth in total putting, fifth in putts per green in regulation and ninth in strokes gained (putting), all of which are miles better than Scheffler. It can’t be because he isn’t long enough off the tee. Burns is practically identical with Scheffler in driving distance. And it can’t be that he hasn’t won yet on the PGA Tour. Burns won the Valspar Championship In May on a tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. Oh, yes. Scheffler still hasn’t won on Tour.
And it certainly can’t be his recent form. Burns’ last four starts, which include the WGC-FedEx St. Jude and all three playoff events, are T-2, T-21, 8 and T-18. Scheffler, in those same events, was 14, T-43, T-22 and T-22.
Maybe it’s not what you’ve done but who you know, if you get what I’m saying.
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