Selecting a team for the Ryder Cup is not the most difficult task every two years, but pairing teammates and knowing who to match them against is no easy feat. Since golf is an individual sport 99% of the time, there’s no good formula for putting a team together that can ensure winning results. For Captains, the difficulty of picking players is slightly lessened because there are only three picks to make. The rest of the team is put together through a qualifying process.
Team USA Captain Tom Watson had the unenviable task of having to decide whether or not to include Tiger Woods on the team when he was clearly suffering through injury and playing poorly. Lucky for him, Woods took the decision out of his hands and withdrew from consideration. Watson chose Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan as his 2014 Captain’s picks.
Team Europe Captain Paul McGinley also faced some tough decisions with his Captain’s picks, finally settling on Ian Poulter, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood so round out the 2014 Team Europe roster. McGinley chose to leave off Luke Donald and Joost Luiten, as well as Miguel Angel Jimenez (who he later made a Vice Captain). Those three exclusions were the highest ranked players to not make the team.
Here are the final 2014 Ryder Cup rosters:
Captain - Tom Watson
Vice Captains - Raymond Floyd, Andy North, Steve Stricker
Captain - Paul McGinley
Vice Captains - Des Smyth, Sam Torrance, Jose Marie Olazabal, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez