Woods, Johnson, Cink, Fowler picked for Ryder Cup squad

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The final selection _ and Pavin’s most difficult _ went to Fowler, the first PGA Tour rookie to make the U.S. team. While the former Oklahoma State star has three runner-up finishes a pro, he still hasn’t won, and has not had a top 10 for three months.

Fowler played in the Walker Cup twice and went 7-1, including a 4-0 record at Merion last year. Pavin was not the least bit concerned that Fowler will be making his debut before fans who will be pulling against him.

“I think he can handle it, and that’s why I picked him,” Pavin said. “I think he’s a very mature young man. He’s had experience in international play. He’s got a very steady head on his shoulders.”

No one else stood out over the last three weeks. In the final tournament before Pavin’s picks, none of the 14 players on the captain’s short list finished among the top 10.

According to people with knowledge of the decision, the final selection came down to Fowler and big-hitting J.B. Holmes, who tied for 11th at the TPC Boston. Holmes went 2-0-1 two years ago playing before a home crowd at Valhalla.

Among those left off were Anthony Kim, who missed three months this summer with thumb surgery and was bumped out of the top eight in the final qualifying tournament; former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and Charley Hoffman, who closed with a 62 on Monday to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Hoffman was not on Pavin’s short list at the start of last week, but the captain called him Monday night to say he had been considered.

Fowler’s selection gives the Americans five Ryder Cup rookies _ Watson, Overton, Fowler, Kuchar and Dustin Johnson _ and two players without a single PGA Tour victory. Overton is winless in his five years on tour.

Woods, who retained the No. 1 world ranking for the 274th consecutive week Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, became an obvious selection once he said at the PGA Championship that he wanted to be part of the team. He has been accused of being indifferent toward the Ryder Cup, and his career record of 10-13-2 is the one flaw in an impeccable career inside the ropes.

He will be going to Wales on his own _ his divorce was approved two weeks ago _ and no longer cutting such an invincible figure.

Woods has failed to win since returning at the Masters, although he appears headed in the right direction. He posted three rounds in the 60s at the Deutsche Bank Championship for the first time all year.

“Whether I was a person who was picked or a person who earned their way on the squad, it doesn’t change the overall goal,” Woods said. “It’s still the same. And that’s to go over there and win.”

Europe’s team has six Ryder Cup rookies _ Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Peter Hanson, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher and PGA champion Martin Kaymer _ along with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Miguel Angel Jimenez and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Zach Johnson won the Colonial in May, and the former Masters champion had been coming on strong in recent weeks. He finished one shot out of the playoff at the PGA Championship, and kept himself in the mix at the tour’s playoff events. Cink, who won the British Open at Turnberry last year, has been making slow progress in recent months.

“What was important to me is who I thought could play well in that environment over in Wales,” Pavin said. “That was my first criteria. Obviously, I like guys that are playing well, and that’s important. I wanted to find guys that round off the team and make it a team of 12, not 12 individuals that are great players.”

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