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NEW YORK — Tom Watson has selected Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson for the U.S. Ryder Cup team with his three captain’s picks.
Bradley and Mahan were widely expected to make the team, but Webb Simpson was a minor surprise. Watson said he made the decision to select Simpson on Tuesday morning when he reviewed Simpson’s performance at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah. The U.S. lost by a point after a dramatic final-day comeback by the Europeans, and Simpson compiled a 2-2 record with two 5-and-4 victories.
“Experience was big,” Watson said of the rationale behind his picks. “All three players have an even record or a winning record in the Ryder Cup.”
The three Americans join Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Jim Furyk and Jimmy Walker, who all automatically qualified for the 12-man team.
The U.S. team will be underdogs against Europe when the teams square off in Gleneagles, Scotland, on Sept. 26-28. Europe has won the last two Ryder Cups and has only lost once — in 2008 — since 1999.
However, Watson said that “flying under the radar” could be an advantage for the Americans in Scotland.
“I have a fundamental belief in our team and more importantly our players believe they can win the Ryder Cup,” Watson said.
The announcement was a disappointment to several American players in consideration for a captain’s pick, including Chris Kirk, Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Ryan Moore and others. Watson said he called more than a half-dozen players to tell them in person that they didn’t make the team, including Kirk, who won last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.