I get it that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson went with experience in choosing Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson. Mahan won two weeks ago, but Bradley and Simpson have had a so-so year. Still, all three know how Ryder Cup pressure can shorten backswings and cause shallow breathing, and they’ll be prepared to stare down that pressure
That said, Watson made a mistake in not selecting Chris Kirk. Kirk won the Deutsche Bank Championship Monday for his second PGA Tour title this season, and he did it without flinching when paired with Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 1 player and leader of the European Ryder Cup team.
“The fist pump is getting old.”
“Captain” Kirk should have been named for three reasons:
- He’s a breath of fresh air on a stale U.S. team. Kirk would have carried with him the fire and focus of beginner’s eyes, the same way Bradley did for his first Ryder Cup two years ago. Yes, Watson is here to win now, but he’s also here to build Ryder Cup players for the future. Kirk could have put in his rookie time this year and been seasoned for the next time around.
- He has a hot hand — so he can help Watson win now — and a cool swing. Very cool. His swing tempo is molasses slow, with practically a stop-action pause at the top of the backswing. Check out this video.
- Kirk is not big about fist pumping, and the Ryder Cup needs less fist pumping. Not that a show of passion isn’t part of the Ryder Cup appeal; it’s just that the fist pump itself is getting old. Someone needs to hire a choreographer to come in and train the team to do emphatic actions other than the fist pump. It isn’t Kirk’s nature to fist pump; he’s like his swing: slow to fire. Kirk joked Wednesday about how two fist pumps are his personal record for a tournament.