US Ryder Cup rookies have a wealth of experience

Updated 9/26/2012 7:25 PM
  • Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson of Team USA could be a likely pairing at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson said he likes the energy and enthusiasm the rookie brings to the course.

      Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson of Team USA could be a likely pairing at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson said he likes the energy and enthusiasm the rookie brings to the course. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

U.S. captain Davis Love considers Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker Ryder Cup rookies in name only.

"They may be rookies here at the Ryder Cup, but they're major championship winners, they're FedExCup winners," Love said. "They're veterans that are playing in their first Ryder Cup.

"We've had guys that over a long period of two years had a lot of top 10 finishes. They've done a lot and played a lot of great golf. They're really comfortable, confident guys. They were nervous on the first tee and they were shocked at how many people were out there. They were telling me that and they never missed a shot.

"It wasn't like they were so nervous they couldn't hit it."

It certainly appeared from Wednesday's practice round that Love plans to pair Bradley with veteran Phil Mickelson in Friday's alternate shot format.

The two played together for a second straight day, using Bradley's ball. Mickelson uses a different ball and seemed to be doing whatever he could to make Bradley feel comfortable.

Mickelson said the Americans need a jolt of youth.

"A lot of the guys that have been on a number of team events, myself, (Steve) Stricker, (Jim) Furyk, we've only won two Ryder Cups," Mickelson said. "We need that excitement and energy that the rookies provide as much as they need guidance as to what to expect for all of us to play our best golf.

"We need that positive outlook and will to win. We need that youthfulness or that excitement, the guys playing in their first Ryder Cup, provide. We can feed off that."

Nicolas Colsaerts is the only rookie for Europe.

Wait and see:

It's the Sunday singles match everyone wants to see, but European captain Jose Maria Olazabal can't guarantee Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods will happen.

"Sunday will be what will be," Olazabal said. "I'm not expecting anything at this particular time. I know all of you are very eager to see that match played, but we will have to wait and see what happens, obviously how the matches develop the first few days because they are going to be crucial to what we're going to be doing on Sunday.

"We're guessing here and my guess is as good as yours. The only thing I can say is I know you're eager to see that match, but I think the Ryder Cup is more important than that single match."

McIlroy, the world's No. 1-ranked player, said he would welcome the opportunity to play in all five matches.

"I'm more than happy to play in all five," McIlroy said.

"To be honest, I expect that," Olazabal said. "You expect that from your best players. Obviously, that's not going to happen, but it's nice to know the guys are willing to put in the extra energy and effort to achieve their goal."

Neither Olazabal nor U.S. captain Davis Love would divulge their plans for Friday's pairings.

"I do have a few ideas in mind, but I'm not going to tell you," Olazabal said.

Short day:

The Europeans cut short their practice round to nine holes on Wednesday and plan to do the same thing again Thursday.

"They had a good look at the course (Tuesday), they saw every bit of it and now it's just a matter of taking it a little bit easier," captain Jose Maria Olazabal said. "We've got 36 holes Friday, Saturday 36 holes, with a lot of tension and a lot of pressure."

King Kuchar:

The Americans have been passing the time trying to beat Matt Kuchar at Ping-Pong.

"I'm not going to rank my guys, but it's clear that Kuch is the best," Davis Love said. "Now they're comparing how many points off Kuch. They can't beat him, it's a matter of how close you came."

Twitter watch:

In this day of intense social media scrutiny, Jose Maria Olazabal had this to say about what his team can do.

"I'm not banning any member of the team (from using it), but what I've said to them if they have to be careful what they say, how they say it and when they say it," Olazabal said.

"I'm sure that any comments made on Twitter are not intended in a bad way, but if you take the sentence out of context it might look completely different. In that regard, the boys have to be a little cautious."

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