If the pre-pick of Tiger Woods by Fred Couples cost anybody a spot on the United States Presidents Cup team, it was Keegan Bradley, the rookie PGA champion and two-time winner.
Couples spent 30 minutes on the phone Tuesday with Bradley before announcing in a teleconference at 5 p.m. that his second pick was Bill Haas, winner of both the Tour Championship and FedExCup, and a three-time winner over the two-year cycle for earning points. After an opening round 64 at East Lake, Bradley finished five shots out of the Haas-Hunter Mahan playoff in a tie for 11th.
"Freddie was very nice on the phone and explained to me why he made the picks," Bradley said in a text message. "I totally understand Tiger and Bill are great players. And what Bill did at the Tour Championship was remarkable and he deserved the pick. That's not saying I'm not very disappointed. I hope to be on many more teams in the future."
The consolation for Bradley is that Couples made him first man off the bench in case Steve Stricker isn't able to play at Royal Melbourne in seven weeks because of a herniated disk and bone spur in his neck. Stricker, the highest ranked American at No. 4, took a cortisone shot but played with pain and stiffness during the Tour Championship and finished 15th in a 30-man field.
Stricker had a second MRI on Tuesday but his agent, Jon Heaton, told Golf World Wednesday morning, "There is nothing to report at this time."
*(Photo by *Michael Cohen/Getty Images)