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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kevin and the Captain

The American Ryder Cup team must be on pins and needles. Captain Tom Watson sits at -3 after 3 rounds... and is outplaying many of the players who hoped to impress him this week. Many people wondered if the young players would respect him enough. Well, when your Captain is almost 65 years old (just two months shy) and is kicking your ass, you BETTER respect him!

Kevin Stadler

Starting at #7 in the American Ryder Cup points list, here are the players (with their scores) in order through #23 (an NP means they aren't playing at the Greenbrier:
  • Rickie Fowler NP
  • Jason Dufner NP
  • Patrick Reed -3
  • Phil Mickelson NP
  • Chris Kirk -1
  • Harris English NP
  • Brendon Todd -5
  • Zach Johnson NP
  • Kevin Na -3
  • Ryan Moore NP
  • Webb Simpson -3
  • Keegan Bradley -5
  • Erik Compton NP
  • Matt Every NP
  • Kevin Stadler NP
  • Gary Woodland -2
  • JB Holmes -5
It's not particularly impressive, is it? No one is more than 2 shots ahead of the Captain... and some are going backwards. That's not good when your Captain is looking for players who can close out matches.

One name, however, may have Tom's attention despite not being at the Greenbrier. Kevin Stadler, currently #21 on the list, won't get any Ryder Cup points this week. However, he's playing at a future European Ryder Cup site (the 2018 course, in case you didn't know) and he's playing against a fairly stout field in the French Open. A few names you might recognize -- Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Victor Dubuisson and Thomas Bjorn are all players who are on or will likely be on the Euro Ryder Cup team.

Of the ones who made the cut, Kevin is leading the rest by a minimum of 4 strokes entering the final round... and has led since the first round. BTW, did I mention that no American has won the French Open since 1972?

I know that Kevin has no Ryder Cup experience. I know that he won't get any Ryder Cup points this week -- that's something that may need to be addressed in the near future if we hope to get the best Americans qualified for the team. But if he successfully pulls off this wire-to-wire win -- beating the Europeans on their own turf in an event no American has won in 42 years -- I suspect Kevin Stadler will be much higher on Tom Watson's personal list than he is on any points list.

And I suspect that will prove to be the best list to be on.

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