Just hours after losing a nail-biting playoff at the Tour Championship, Ryan Moore was announced as the final participant in the 41st Ryder Cup. The 42-year-old Moore, the fourth and final wild-card pick by United States captain Davis Love III, will be one of eight rookies in attendance when the U.S. faces off with Europe at Hazeltine National in Minnesota on Friday.
With Moore’s selection, the U.S. will be hoping that its decision to hold off finalizing the team until just five days before the start of the event will be vindicated. Two years ago, the Americans were left ruing the fact that Billy Horschel didn’t travel to Scotland, with his late-season flourish coming after the U.S. team had been confirmed. This time around, the U.S. will take the man who has been on a surge since the PGA Championship. On Sunday, Moore showed the kind of poise under pressure that will be required at Hazeltine to push Rory McIlroy for four extra holes before finally succumbing.
“Ryan fits so well with what we have in place,” Love said. “He's an easy-going, thoughtful guy, but don't be fooled. Ryan's a great match-play player with an incredible match-play record. He has guts and determination and everyone saw that on Sunday. We are thrilled to have him with us.”
Moore’s selection means there is no place for world No. 7 and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, following the wild-card picks of Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes two weeks ago.
While the U.S. has taken its time with its selection, Europe has taken a very different approach. Captain Darren Clarke finalized his team at the end of August when announcing experienced duo Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, as well as Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters, as his three wild cards.
It means Love has little time to build the sort of team unity that has been cited as the key reason for Europe’s recent domination of the event. Despite generally having players with fewer individual honors than their American counterparts, Europe has won six of the last seven Ryder Cups, including the last three.
Half of the 12-member European team has previously tasted victory in the Ryder Cup, while only two Americans – Holmes and Mickelson – have done likewise. Indeed, Mickelson, despite being a five-time major winner has a losing record in golf’s ultimate team competition.
In terms of world rankings, though, there is no contest. The U.S. team has an average ranking of 16.33, while Europe’s stands at 27.75.
The action gets underway on Friday morning with the foursomes, when pairs from each team will square off with alternate shots, before the afternoon four-balls, where each member of a pair plays the own ball throughout the round in the better shot format. The schedule is repeated on Saturday before the 24 players face off in Sunday’s singles. As the holder, Europe needs just 14 points to retain the Ryder Cup, while the U.S. requires 14.5 to reclaim it.
Ryder Cup 2016 Dates, Schedule
Friday, Sept. 30
8.35 a.m. (EDT): Foursomes
1.30 p.m.: Four-balls
Saturday, Oct. 1
8.35 a.m.: Foursomes
1.35 p.m.: Four-balls
Sunday, Oct. 2
12.04 p.m.: Singles
Rafael Cabrera Bello