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Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021
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In the Swing: Love's wildcard dilemma makes José's look easy

As the FedEx Cup Playoffs head to TPC Boston, Neil Cullen looks at the Americans in contention for one of Davis Love’s four wildcards.

In contention: Nick Watney celebrates after sinking a birdie putt at the Barclays.
In contention: Nick Watney celebrates after sinking a birdie putt at the Barclays.
Image: Henny Ray Abrams/AP/Press Association Images

NOW THAT IAN POULTER and Nicolas Colsaerts are confirmed in the team for Medinah, the focus switches Stateside.

If Jose Maria Olazabal had a difficult decision to make, it looks easy in comparison to the one faced by Davis Love III who has to pick four from a possible eight at least.

Nick Watney finished in 32nd spot in the automatic qualification list for the US team and probably didn’t feature heavily in Love’s thinking. His win at the Barclays at Bethpage on Sunday will have changed that significantly.

It’s amazing how far a win can go, particularly when there are four spots up for grabs.

Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson, both men who must be in the reckoning for wild cards, also had impressive finishes.

Snedeker is a winner on tour this season and had a top five finish at the British Open, while Dustin Johnson has been in fine form having missed golf earlier in the season due to injury.

Love will be looking for repeat performances from all of the above mentioned at the Deutsche Bank Championship this week. One thinks they will need it, because the other names with their hands up for a pick are pretty strong candidates.

Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are both highly experienced golfers and both play a type of game that is very well suited to the team format. They are both very solid and don’t make many mistakes.

Stricker also has the added advantage of being the natural choice as a partner for Tiger Woods, the two having played together successfully in both Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups past.

We haven’t even mentioned Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan yet.

Mahan was the unlucky one to finish outside the bubble in ninth place on the automatic selection list. This is man who has a Word Golf Championship to his name this year as well as a regular Tour event.

We all remember his decisive match against Graeme McDowell at the 2010 Ryder Cup, particularly his fluffed chip at the 17th to all but hand McDowell the match. How much will that demise play on his brain and affect him should he be awarded a selection?

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Ricky Fowler on the other hand will have fond memories of the half-point he wrestled from Edoardo Molinari by birdieing the last four holes in a row. It may have been in vain, but at the time it was a crucial half-point that gave the US team a lifeline if nothing else. It’s certainly the type of grit and endeavour that Love III will be expecting from his players to both support and enhance their existing talents.

As all this goes on, there’s also the rather lucrative matter of the FedEx Cup Playoffs going on simultaneously.

As well as playing for a pick, Watney will be looking to extend his lead at the top of the standing, with Snedeker, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in close pursuit.

Such is the number of points on offer for these events, however, the leaderboard can change very quickly.

So can the mind of Davis Love III given a good enough performance.

Guys, this weekend is your shot.

Harrington took Ryder Cup disappointment well – Olazabal

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