Every two years, a team of the best golfers the U.S. has to offer is matched up against a team of Europe’s best in the Ryder Cup. This year, the event will take place from September 28-30 at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, in the shadow of Chicago. Each team consists of 12 players and a team captain.
Here is the selection process used to choose the team to represent the United States in 2012:
Captain: Davis Love III.
The Team USA captain is selected by The PGA of America, which, along with Ryder Cup Europe, serves as the organizing body for the Ryder Cup. For the 2012 competition, The PGA of America selected Davis Love III as captain. Love III had previously competed in the Ryder Cup six times and served as an assistant captain in 2010.
Eight Points Qualifiers: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, and Phil Mickelson.
The points system established by The PGA of America decides the first eight spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. The eight American golfers with the most points as of August 12 clinch those spots.
Points are based on the following:
– Prize money earned in the 2011 major championships. One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned in the 2011 Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship.
– Prize money earned in “official” 2012 events from January 1 through August 12. One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned, excluding major championships, events played opposite major championships, and events played opposite the World Golf Championships.
– Prize money earned for the 2012 major championships. Two points are awarded for every $1,000 earned in the 2012 Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship.
– Prize money earned in 2012 events played opposite the major championships and opposite World Golf Championship events between January 1 and August 2012. One-half point is awarded for every $1,000 earned in these events.
Considering this system, it is not surprising that all Americans who won major championships in 2011 and 2012 qualified for the 2012 Ryder Cup. Bradley was victorious in the 2011 PGA Championship, Watson won the Masters, and Simpson took home the U.S. Open.
Four Captain’s Choices: Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, and Brandt Snedeker.
The captain’s choice picks are just that: four golfers chosen by Davis Love III. This number was increased from just two captain’s picks in the past in order to add in more flexibility to the selection process. Although there are surely people in the captain’s ear when it comes to who to pick, the captain has the discretion to make the call. While not formally tied to the points standings, the selections made in 2012 all finished close to the top eight as Stricker finished 10th, Furyk 11th, Snedeker 13th, and Johnson 15th.
It will be great to see whether captain Love III can lead the American squad to a victory in front of the home-country fans. The PGA of America hopes that this selection process has provided the team capable of doing just that.
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Del Pearson is a long-time golf fan and active casual golfer. Del recently shook hands with Ernie Els. Follow Del on Twitter @DelPearson2.