Since they were introduced to the Ryder Cup four decades ago, Captain’s picks have been fodder for debate, and often the secret to success, in one of the most compelling events in sports.
In 1979, when Great Britain & Ireland expanded its roster to include Continental Europe, Peter Oosterhuis and Des Smyth were chosen to fill out a team captained by John Jacobs to compete at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. It was another decade before the United States Team adopted the use of Captain’s picks. The criteria have been tweaked repeatedly through the years, leading to oft-controversial selections and exciting pairings, and the intense scrutiny of the media and fans.
Lanny Wadkins and Tom Watson were the first American selections, joining Captain Raymond Floyd’s team in 1989 that finished in a 14-14 tie with Europe at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.
With Europe dominating the Ryder Cup over the past two decades, winning 9 of the past 11 matches, U.S. Captain Steve Stricker’s choices are sure to be closely analyzed. Captain Stricker has a record six picks this year.
One of the most interesting statistics regarding Captain’s picks is their record: The American selections have an all-time record of 49-54-20;. The Europeans are 74-71-14.
Here’s a glance at the top-5 U.S. Captain’s Selections since 1989:
|Scott Verplank||4-1-0||2002, ’06|
|Raymond Floyd||5-3-0||1991, ’93|