Ryder Cup squad profiles: US Part 1

We begin our overview of the two teams who will do battle at Medinah with the host nation

Posted: 17 September 2012
by Alex Perry and Andy Roberts

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are just 11 days left until the eagerly-anticipated 39th Ryder Cup tees off at Medinah Country Club.

Will Europe retain the trophy or will the United States bounce back on home turf? Yes, you could be right.

But if you’re still sitting on the fence, fear not, as Golfmagic will be providing you with in-depth analysis of each of the 24 players, captains and vice captains from now until Friday.

For Part 1, we begin with six proven players from the stars and stripes…

Phil Mickelson

Born: June 16 1970, San Diego
Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 8
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 10-14-6
Total matches: 30; Singles 3-4-0; Foursomes 2-4-4; Fourballs 5-6-2
PGA Tour wins: 40; Majors: 4
Did you know? Mickelson will make his ninth consecutive Ryder Cup apperance, which is a US record

Phil Mickelson may have earned the final automatic qualifying position on the US team when finishing eighth in the two-year point-getting process, but on current form, the four-time major champion is one of the hottest Americans around.

Since tying for seventh at the Byron Nelson Championship in mid-May, Mickelson went without a top-35 finish in seven consecutive events and many were wondering whether his heart was in the game anymore.

Two top-four finishes in the last two FedEx Cup events after shooting seven of his last eight rounds in the 60s quickly dispelled those thoughts.

Mickelson, who will be making a record ninth consecutive US appearance, doesn’t have the best Ryder Cup record but let’s not forget he did go 3-0 in the team portion of the 2011 Presidents Cup.

Jim Furyk

Born: May 12 1970, Pennysylvania
Previous Ryder Cup apperances: 7
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 8-15-4
Total matches: 27; Singles 4-2-1; Foursomes 3-5-2; Fourballs 1-8-1
PGA Tour wins: 16; Majors 1
Did you know? Furyk earned just half a point out of three at Celtic Manor in 2010

Jim Furyk’s Presidents Cup record of 20-10-3 ranks first all-time and reflects the dominance that the US has enjoyed in that competition.

On the flip side, his 8-15-4 tally in the Ryder Cup is reflective of the struggles the US team has had, winning just once since a comeback victory in 1999.

However, the 42-year-old, who is making his eighth consecutive Ryder Cup start after being given a wildcard pick by captain Davis Love, did tally a postively proud 2-1-1 record in the 2008 Ryder Cup (the only year he has posted a winning Ryder Cup record) and the US team beat the Europeans 16½-11½.

But despite his experience and current form that has seen him throw away golden opportunities of victory at the US Open and WGC-Bridgestone, it’s likely Furyk will be spending several sessions in a buggy. No doubt, loaded up with 5-Hour Energy drinks. 

Tiger Woods

Born: December 30 1975, California
Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 6
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 12-14-2
Total matches: 28; Singles 4-1-1; Foursomes 4-7-1; Fourballs 4-6-0
PGA Tour wins: 74; Majors: 14
Did you know? Woods has a 46% win ratio in the Ryder Cup

After going two and half years without victory on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods has come back with vengeance in 2012.

Before Ryder Cup points closed at the PGA Championship, Woods had already won three times during the season and locked up the No.1 spot in the automatic US team standings.

While Woods has played in 28 matches, he hasn’t endeared himself fully in the foursomes and fourballs – losing 13 out of 22 matches. But his matchplay record has been reinvigorated when partnering close friend Steve Stricker, with whom he’s gone 6-2 in team competitions.

Steve Stricker

Born: February 23 1967, Wisconsin
Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 2
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 3-3-1
Total matches: 7; Singles 1-1-0; Foursomes 1-1-0; Fourballs 1-1-1
PGA Tour wins: 12
Did you know? Stricker was the joint top American scorer with Woods at Celtic Manor with three points

Steve Stricker might not have played in as many Ryder Cups as Mickelson, Furyk and Woods, but he’s more than an established player.

The 45-year-old putting wizard from Wisconsin, who received a deserved wildcard pick from Love, clinched his 12th PGA Tour title in the opening event of the 2012 PGA Tour season in Hawaii – the fourth consecutive season in which he’s won at least once on Tour.

Stricker has claimed three and half points from seven in his previous two Ryder Cup appearances but owns a commanding 6-2 record when partnering Woods in team competitions. We expect him to play a major role in both fourballs and foursomes with the 14-time major champion once again. 

Zach Johnson

Born: February 24 1976, Iowa
Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 2
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 3-3-1
Total matches: 7; Singles 1-1-0; Foursomes 1-2-1; Fourballs 1-0-0
PGA Tour wins: 9; Majors 1
Did you know? Johnson defeated Padraig Harrington 3&2 in the Sunday singles at Celtic Manor in 2010

Zach Johnson is enjoying another stellar season on the PGA Tour with two victories in the locker at the Crowne Plaza and John Deere Classic, going alongside runner-up efforts at the Heritage and Players Championship.

Like Stricker, the 2007 Masters champion is making his third appearance in the competition and has a steady 3-3-1 overall record.

Johnson, although not the longest player in the field, ranks high up the board in driving accuracy and will prove a tremendous asset in the foursomes format.

The 36-time year-old partnered Hunter Mahan - who failed to make the the 2012 team - in both of his foursomes matches in 2010, so it remains to be seen who fills the void this time around. 

Dustin Johnson

Born: June 22 1984, South Carolina
Previous Ryder Cup appearances: 1
Career Ryder Cup record (W-L-H): 1-3-0
Total matches: 4; Singles 1-0-0; Foursomes 0-1-0; Fourballs 0-2-0
PGA Tour wins: 6
Did you know? Despite losing all three of his fourballs and foursomes matches at Celtic Manor, Johnson dismantled Martin Kaymer in the Sunday singles 6&4

It would have been a travesty had Dustin Johnson not been picked by Davis Love.

Johnson’s big-hitting prowess and current form will strike fear into the Europeans around the ballpark that is Medinah.

Plagued by injury earlier in the season, causing him to lose crucial points in the automatic US Ryder Cup standings, the athletic 28-year-old bounced back with victory at the St Jude Classic in June.

Johnson, like Mickelson, is also coming into red-hot form with three top-six finishes in his last three events. There will be few popular partnerships at Medinah than Johnson and Mickelson.

Next up, we look at the other six players who will make up the US squad.

Remember!

You can keep up to speed with all the goings-on from Medinah in our handy Ryder Cup index and join in the discussion in our official Ryder Cup thread.

Twitter users can follow the Ryder Cup action via @Golfmagic, or on our Facebook page. Golfmagic staff Alex Perry and Andy Roberts will be tweeting their own take on matters from @APGolf and @AndyRobertsGolf.



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