Eight players qualify for U.S. Ryder Cup team
Jose Maria Olazabal, the captain of the European Ryder Cup team, has plenty of respect for the U.S. side.
"Obviously, the top eight, if you look at the way they've been playing, you realize they are strong players," he said. "Very good players."
But, Olazabal opted to highlight some of the players who didn't secure a spot, noting the experience and form of players such as Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and others, who are vying for four of Davis Love III's four captain's picks.
"You realize they have experience, they've proven they can putt under pressure, and they have all the respect," Olazabal said. "They will be great assets to the team."
Automatically qualifying on Sunday for the U.S. were Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Those are strong players, although Mickelson has struggled for much of the season and especially of late. The European team's top 10 players will be decided later this month, then Olazabal will pick two more players.
The Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club will be played Sept. 28-30.
But Olazabal's side isn't too shabby, either.
First of all, he's got the game's hottest player, Rory McIlroy, who dominated this weekend to win the PGA Championship by eight strokes.
"He was wonderful to watch," Olazabal said of McIlroy. "It's always great to have a player with that level of confdience and that level of execution. I have to say also that last week, Ian Poulter did a wonderful job. There were a couple of guys who played pretty solid, so I have a lot of positives out of last week."
Poulter's tie for third at the PGA Championship vaulted him up to 10th -- knocking Spaniard Sergio Garcia to the 11th spot. It's hard to imagine Olazabal wouldn't give Garcia one of his two captain's picks. So who else would get the final spot?
There's still tournament play to determine, but Nicolas Colsaerts and David Lynn, who was the surprise runner-up to McIlroy, would seem to be the next two in line.
As for his assistants, Olazabal hasn't made any decisions, although Miguel Angel Jimenez is rumored to be a strong possibility.
"I haven't made a decision yet," Olazabal said, when asked about the possibility of adding Jimenez. "I'm looking for peoiple that have the experience of the Ryder Cup. But, at the same time, have the respect of the players. That's what I'm looking at.
"There are two more weeks to go."
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