Davis Love III almost has his entire 2016 Ryder Cup roster set. Monday morning from Hazeltine National Golf Club, Love III tapped Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes and Matt Kuchar as the first three of his four captain’s picks.
Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes and Matt Kuchar are the three captain’s picks.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) September 12, 2016
Speaking earlier this week on the PGA of America-produced web series “American Captain presented by Mercedes-Benz,” Love laid out what went into his picks.
“I think the two most important things I’ll do as Captain is one, set the tone for what this team is trying to accomplish,” he said. “We’ve talked a lot about preparation, we’ve talked a lot about relaxing and playing our game and not trying to do too much, but then, secondly, it’s going to be making the Captain’s selections.”
The eight players that qualified on points, Love said, will have a voice when it comes to deciding who the four Captain’s Picks will be.
“We get eight on points, but then those other four picks are so important because they round out the team, they balance the team. We might make a pairing, we might pick a leader, we might pick a veteran, we might pick a rookie — somebody that’s great in the team room,” Love said. “We’re just plugging holes with these guys. Those are just crucial. If you mess up one or two of those, you can mess up team chemistry, or get a guy that doesn’t match, or a guy that might not be ready to take the world stage. You can really mess up a team of 12 with just one or two bad picks.”
So not to “mess things up” Love and the PGA of America went to the lengths of hiring a firm that specializes in analytics that will provide Love with information he might not have otherwise considered before making his selections.
“We hired an analytics group — Scouts Inc. — and gave them tasks of stuff that we wanted them to look at,” he said. “They’ve thrown back a bunch of stats that we never even thought of. We’re trying to use them to make better and more informed decisions. Rather than saying, ‘We think this guy is a good wedge player, we’ll know he’s a good wedge player.’ Instead of ‘We think we should set the golf course up like this, we’ll know we should set the golf course up to suit our team.’ They’ve confirmed a lot of decisions and they’ve made us look at things a lot differently.”