A few months ago, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III told the Daily Herald how was reminded of the Ryder Cup every hour of every day.
As the PGA Championship approached, that pattern had to be down to every minute of every day as the eight automatic berths to the U.S. team were about to be secured.
So imagine what the weeks were like leading up to Love’s announcement Tuesday of his four captain’s picks.
“My wife and I are pretty good sleepers; we like to sleep in,” Love said. “That hasn’t happened the past few weeks.
“It was a long process, definitely tougher than I thought.”
But now it’s a completed process after Love’s selection of veterans Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, along with long-hitting Dustin Johnson and putting wizard Brandt Snedeker, who is one of four rookies on the 2012 U.S. team that will take on the European squad three weeks from now at Medinah Country Club.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our team,” Love said. “We think we’ve got a great team — it’s deeper than it’s ever been.”
The least surprising of all the picks was Stricker, a native of Wisconsin and a standout player at the University of Illinois. Stricker and Tiger Woods have been a successful pairing in recent international events, but it’s more than just the matchup possibilities with Stricker that was behind the selection.
“He’s been the best player on Tour — in my mind — the last five or six years,” Love said.
Like Stricker, Furyk was pretty much a shoo-in to make the team as well, as much for his veteran presence and experience in international competition as for his play on tour this season.
“I laid it out early on what I thought we needed and we stuck with it,” Love said. “I need Jim Furyk. I need Steve Stricker. The team will benefit from those guys being in the locker room, being in the team room.
“We need experience and Jim’s one of the most consistent, most respected guys on the team.”
As for Johnson, the U.S. captain cannot wait to get him out on a Medinah course that promises to be long and fast.
“He’s perfect for Medinah,” Love said. “Medinah is a big ballpark and it’s perfect for us. I love Dustin on that course. Our guys are driving it well, and that suits Medinah.”
Snedeker, one of the top putters on the PGA Tour, was another guy who didn’t get much sleep after getting the call from Love on Monday night.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Medinah and making Davis look like a genius,” he said.
“We need hot putters, and there really hasn’t been a hotter putter on Tour since the British Open,” Love said of Snedeker.
Though Johnson and Snedeker were on Love’s radar all along, the captain admitted their strong play the past few weeks certainly helped make the call a lot easier.
“You can’t argue with the golf that Brandt and Dustin have been playing,” he said. “It really did kind of lay right out there for us.”
Among those who didn’t make the final cut were Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Nick Watney.
“It’s tough to leave anybody off,” Love said. “There were a lot of guys who played a lot of really good golf.”
The eight Americans who qualified three weeks ago were Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
“I love my team,” the U.S. captain said. “I’m excited about my team.”
And he’s just as excited about putting the selection process behind him and focusing on what lies ahead.
“Now it starts,” Love said. “Now we get to go play golf.”
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