Ryder CupSeptember 1, 2016

United States Ryder Cup blind resume: Which players make the best case for a captain's pick?

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Davis Love III holds the Ryder Cup Trophy as he poses for the media during his announcement as the 2016 United States Ryder Cup Team Captain at the PGA headquarters on February 24, 2015 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Getty ImagesPALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Davis Love III holds the Ryder Cup Trophy as he poses for the media during his announcement as the 2016 United States Ryder Cup Team Captain at the PGA headquarters on February 24, 2015 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Eight of the 12 United States Ryder Cup roster spots have been filled through automatic qualification. Davis Love III will name three of his captain's picks following next week's BMW Championship, with his final call coming after the Tour Championship. The emphasis on this year's event will bring amplified scrutiny to these decisions, a sentiment already evidenced in Darren Clarke's selections.

Speaking of Team Europe, Russell Knox's exclusion proved that a player's recent accomplishments aren't the only -- or even primary -- factors for Ryder Cup consideration. But what if politics were subtracted and the sole focus was on performance? We took the rundowns from nine players -- Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas, Jim Furyk, Ryan Moore, Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell and J.B. Holmes -- in the U.S. captain's picks conversation, jumbled them up and concealed the applicant's names to create a blind résumé test. Looking at the numbers and output, which four seem Ryder Cup worthy to you?

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson of the United States walk down a fairway with their caddies during a practice round on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Golf Course on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Player A

Wins: 0

Major Performance: T-24 -- T-46 --T-46 -- CUT

Top 10s: 9

Last Four Months: Five top-four finishes.

Notable Stats: 143rd in Driving Distance, eighth in Strokes Gained, 13th in Total Putting.

Ryder Cup History: 4-5-2

Player B

Wins: 1

Major Performance: T-39 -- T-32 -- T-53 -- T-66

Top 10s: 6

Last Four Months: Four top 12s, three missed cuts.

Notable Stats: 152nd in SG: Putting, 25th in Driving Distance, 14th in SG: Approach-the-Green.

Ryder Cup History: None

Player C

Wins: 0

Major Performance: CUT -- CUT -- T-46 -- T-33

Top 10s: 8

Last Four Months: Four top 20s, three missed cuts.

Notable Stats: 7th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 16th in Scrambling, 97th in Overall Putting Average.

Ryder Cup History: 0-3-5

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Player D

Wins: 0

Major Performance: DNP -- T-2 -- T-59 -- T-73

Top 10s: 3

Last Four Months: Four T-21 or better finishes, one missed cut.

Notable Stats: 155th in SG: Off-the-Tee, eighth in Driving Accuracy, 167th in Overall Putting Average.

Ryder Cup History: 10-20-4

Player E

Wins: 1

Major Performance: CUT -- T-32 -- T-46 -- T70

Top 10s: 7

Last Four Months: Eight consecutive cuts made, including win and a T-7.

Notable Stats: 22nd in Strokes Gained, 12th in Driving Accuracy, 24th in Putting Average.

Ryder Cup History: None

Player F

Wins: 1

Major Performance: T-37 -- T-49 -- 76 -- T-18

Top 10s: 6

Last Four Months: Five top 20s, eight consecutive cuts made.

Notable Stats: third in Putting Average, 114th in GIR Percentage, 34th in Scoring.

Ryder Cup History: None

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Player G

Wins: 0

Major Performance: T-4 -- CUT -- 3 -- CUT

Top 10s: 5

Last Four Months: Two top fours but five missed cuts in 10 events.

Notable Stats: fourth in SG: Off-the-Tee, 175th in Approach Proximity, 177th in Total Putting.

Ryder Cup History: 2-0-1

Player H

Wins: 0

Major Performance: DNP -- CUT -- T-53 -- CUT

Top 10s: 6

Last Four Months: Last 11 events -- Runner-up, T-3, five T-31 or higher finishes, four missed cuts.

Notable Stats: fifth in SG: Approach-the-Green, 179th in SG: Putting, 55th in SG: Around-the-Green.

Ryder Cup History: None

Player I

Wins: 1

Major Performance: T-37 -- T-51 -- T-39 -- T-60

Top 10s: 3

Last Four Months: Two top 20s, no missed cuts.

Notable Stats: third in SG: Off-the-Tee, 14th in GIR Percentage, 182nd in Overall Putting Average.

Ryder Cup History: 3-8-0

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In this vein, the choices seem to be relatively clear, with Players A, B, E and F getting the nod and Player C just missing the cut. And the identity of said picks? In their listed order: Kuchar (A), Thomas (B), Moore (E) and Kisner (F), with Fowler (C) the odd man out. (As for the other match-ups: Furyk -- D, Holmes -- G, Chappell -- H and Watson -- I.)

One could make the case that Fowler earns the final spot over Kisner, and Furyk certainly has his band of proponents (although he's in danger of not making it past the second week of the FedEx Cup playoffs). Moreover, despite his recent woes, many around the game would be shocked if Bubba, a member of the past three Ryder Cup teams, wasn't at Hazeltine come fall.

Conversely, as we stated above, we aren't worried about a player's popularity with fans or his brand recognition. These nine can augment their case over the next three tournaments. But with just weeks to go, Kuchar, Thomas, Moore and Kisner should have the edge.


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