Despite the fact that Jordan Spieth is as deserving as anyone to receive a captain’s pick for the United States President’s Cup team, there was doubt as to whether he would be selected. Captain Fred Couples has a penchant for veterans which cast some doubt as to whether he would choose Spieth or an older, more experienced player.
That doubt has now been erased with the announcement of both captain’s picks. Couples gave the nod to Spieth and Webb Simpson and bypassed names like Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Billy Horschel. The average age of the automatic qualifiers for the United States team is 35.5 years old. Spieth and Simpson will reduce that number a bit.
Any of the guys in consideration would have been solid additions to an already strong United States side, but I love Couples’ picks. Simpson isn’t as young as Spieth – who is 20 years old – but he’s still only 28 in his own right. Adding this pair to a team that is already filled with experienced players is the smart move. Outside of the fact that the two can flat out play, they will add a fire to the team that tends to be lost as players progress in their careers.
Spieth isn’t just a sentimental pick, either. He played his way onto this team. He has only been a pro for nine months of the almost two year long qualifying period. In that time he skyrocketed all the way to 22nd in the standings. Had the qualifying period included only this season, Spieth would have earned an automatic bid.
Simpson is a major champion, having taken home the hardware at the 2012 U.S. Open. He was also the first man out as an automatic qualifier, finishing 11th in the standings. The only reason he was ousted from his ninth spot was the fact that Steve Stricker jumped into the top 10 after the Deutsche Bank Championship. His Ryder Cup experience will also allow him to get into a comfort zone early in the event.
A case can certainly be made for some of the players that were “snubbed”, but that doesn’t take anything away from Spieth and Simpson. They were deserving of their selections.