Saturday, 15 September 2012

Rating the Rookies

One of the key factors in deciding the outcome of Ryder Cups is how the debutants fare. Will they settle well in the pressurised environment and relish the match play format, or wilt in front of the raucous crowds and huge television audience?

The two-year gap in tournaments means being a Ryder Cup rookie does not denote general inexperience. Indeed, the four American first-timers have plenty of elite level golf success behind them. 26-year-old Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, 27, are Major winners and ranked 12th and 5th respectively. 

Winning a Major reveals a calmness under pressure and this pair have backed up their success in big ones with consistency on tour. Simpson claimed the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship, whilst Bradley tasted tour success in the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. They have proven themselves at the top level.

The same can be said of Jason Dufner. The 35-year-old has three top-five finishes from his last eight Majors and he showed his consistency with seventh place at the recent Bridgestone event. His two tour titles came earlier this season. 

Bradley, Simpson, and Dufner earned their places in the Davis Love III-led team through the points table, leaving Brandt Snedeker as the only rookie amongst the four captain's picks.

The 31-year-old from Nashville has enjoyed a rapid rise this year, winning the Farmers Insurance Open via a play-off - something captains take note of - and carding stunning opening rounds of 66 and 64 at the Open, where he finished joint third. Ranked 18th, Snedeker is as safe a wildcard choice as possible.

Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts is the lowest ranked player in the event, sitting 36th in the list. The 29-year-old Belgian impressed with a share of seventh at the Open, but his triumph in the World Match Play in May was instrumental in Jose Maria Olazabal's wildcard selection. There is every reason to think he will thrive in team match play golf.

Follow the link for more on Europe’s chances at the upcoming Ryder Cup:

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