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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bjorn's Four Captain's Picks

And now we know the four European picks. Since I wrote about the US picks yesterday, I should give the Euros just as much respect.

European Captain Thomas Bjorn

I don't think anybody was really surprised by Bjorn's picks. We all knew he needed more veterans on the team, and he picked four -- Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey.

I had already given my four choices on Monday.
  • I felt that Poulter was a given.
  • While Sergio was a less clearcut choice, I picked him because I don't see any mechanical problems in his swing. I just see a new husband and father who rightfully has his mind on his family. Since they'll almost certainly be with him in Paris, and knowing how much he loves the Ryder Cup, I figure his game will be just fine.
I had chosen Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello as my other two picks.
  • My reason for not picking Stenson was simply concerns about his health.
But I didn't give my reasons for not picking Casey, and I think you might like to know why.

The irony of it all is that, when I was looking over the choices and came to Casey's name, I quite literally said to myself, "If the Cup was in America this time, Casey would be a given just like Poulter." Because while Casey has played very well in the US this year, he hasn't played all that well over in Europe and he didn't play in the French Open at all. And given that he hasn't been in a Ryder Cup for around a decade, I felt that was a problem since European courses tend to play differently from US courses.

I certainly understand why Bjorn picked him though. Bjorn was the person who really convinced Casey to play the ET in order to qualify, and Paul did play well in the US all season -- including that win over Tiger early in the year. And we know that Casey has a great match play record, at least when it comes to match play tour events. His record isn't all that remarkable in the Ryder Cup, although he has certainly improved as a match player since he was last in the Cup.

So now we're down to only one US pick -- who I suspect will be Tony Finau, although Kevin Kisner isn't out of the running (I discussed why in that Monday post) -- barring anything unexpected this week at the BMW Championship. Either way, both teams will have a player with questionable health -- Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson -- and twelve very strong players overall.

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