OVER the weekend, United States Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk remained coy regarding his first three selections for the 2018 matches. No doubt, he chose to keep his lips sealed in respect of the process, which required him to wait until the culmination of the Dell Technologies Championship prior to announcing his decision. And, in theory, the long-set schedule works; the very notion of giving him free rein to choose a third of his charges close to the event is predicated on tapping in-form players.
In truth, Furyk didn’t have to agonize at all. Heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two most accomplished names of the current generation, had already claimed spots on the strength of their resumes. And it certainly helped that they sizzled of late. Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau was always on the radar, but wound up being a no-brainer following victorious stints in his last two starts.
With the Ryder Cup just two weeks away, Furyk now turns his attention to his final at-large selection. Parenthetically, he will use results in BMW Championship to narrow his options — all the while taking into consideration pairings that would appear to click on paper. He has a deep field to choose from. Among the most notable are Tony Finau (who wound up second and fourth at the initial FedEx Cup stops) and Xander Schauffele (who posted bridesmaid finishes at the Players Championship and British Open).
Regardless of how Furyk goes, the US cannot but be considered favorites to carve their first Ryder Cup triumph in foreign soil since 1993. Then again, they’ve been the safe bet in practically every meet through the last two and a half decades, only to fall short of expectations. Which is to say he will want any advantage he can get, including getting the last man right. In short, he has his work cut out for him.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994.