- Associated Press - Saturday, September 22, 2012

A capsule look at the U.S. players for the 39th Ryder Cup matches, to be played Sept. 28-30 at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Players listed in the order they made the team:

___

TIGER WOODS

Age: 36.

World ranking: 2.

Ryder Cups: 6.

Ryder Cup record: 13-14-2.

Career victories: 86.

2012 victories: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Memorial, AT&T National.

Majors: 14.

2012 Majors: Masters-T40, US Open-T21, British Open-T3, PGA Championship-T11.

Backspin: A captain’s pick last time, Woods has returned to being the top American player and will be expected to win points whenever he plays. He already has won three times this year, with three other tournaments in the top 3. He has had winning records (3-1, 3-2) his last two Ryder Cups, and has a chance at this one to go over .500 for the first time. He likely will partner with Steve Stricker, with whom he played every match in 2010 at Wales and 2009 in the Presidents Cup.

___

BUBBA WATSON

Age: 33.

World ranking: 7.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 1-3-0.

Career victories: 4.

2012 victories: Masters.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-1, US Open-Cut, British Open-T23, PGA Championship-T11.

Backspin: Watson is unpredictable in so many ways, including the golf course. The Masters champion has challenged in only one tournament since April, spending more time at home with his newly adopted son. His length will be an asset, his creativity never hurt and he has a partner he trusts in Webb Simpson. Watson won his opening match with Jeff Overton in Wales, and then never won another match.

___

JASON DUFNER

Age: 35.

World ranking: 6.

Ryder Cups: Rookie.

Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0.

Career victories: 2.

2012 victories: Zurich Classic, Byron Nelon Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T24, US Open-T4, British Open-T31, PGA Championship-T27.

Backspin: This will be the one player European fans still don’t know, despite his two wins this year on the PGA Tour and his playoff loss last year in the PGA Championship. All anyone needs to know is that Dufner is reliable. He’s not easily rattled, though that figures to be tested in his first Ryder Cup. He can partner with just about anyone. The one area of his game that can’t afford to stay home is his putting.

___

KEEGAN BRADLEY

Age: 26.

World ranking: 13.

Ryder Cups: Rookie.

Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0.

Career victories: 3.

2012 victories: Bridgestone Invitational.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T27, US Open-T68, British Open-T34, PGA Championship-T3.

Backspin: The former PGA champion embodies the younger blood on the U.S. team, and this one is a gamer. He regularly plays money games with Phil Mickelson, and he showed plenty of fight when he hung in there long enough to beat Jim Furyk at Firestone. He also holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th at Riviera to force a playoff. Bradley is long off the tee and was a good putter even before he went to the belly putter. He likely will be spending a lot of time with Mickelson at Medinah.

___

WEBB SIMPSON

Age: 27.

World ranking: 8.

Ryder Cups: Rookie.

Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0.

Career victories: 3.

2012 victories: U.S. Open.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T44, US Open-1, British Open-DNP, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: Simpson doesn’t have the most beautiful swing in golf, but it’s efficient and he gets the most out of his game every time he plays. He teamed with Watson at Royal Melbourne in the Presidents Cup last year, and they went 3-1. Simpson lost his singles match to K.T. Kim. He won his first major at the U.S. Open, and then took five weeks off as his wife gave birth to their second child. He has not been much of a factor the last two months.

___

ZACH JOHNSON

Age: 36.

World ranking: 16.

Ryder Cups: 2.

Ryder Cup record: 3-3-1.

Career victories: 9.

2012 victories: Colonial, John Deere Classic.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T32, US Open-T41, British Open-T9, PGA Championship-70.

Backspin: He is the only American player who does not have a losing record despite never playing on a winning team. That says something about Johnson, who was a captain’s pick in 2010 and brings key elements to match play _ accuracy, great wedge play and a solid putter. A two-time winner this year, he might play a bigger role on this U.S. team that most casual fans realize.

___

MATT KUCHAR

Age: 34.

World ranking: 14.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 1-1-2.

Career victories: 4.

2012 victories: The Players Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T3, US Open-T27, British Open-T9, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: He had a chance to win the Masters late on Sunday, and he won The Players Championship. Since then, however, Kuchar has gone very quiet, surprising for a guy whose hallmark is consistency. He was partners with Stewart Cink last time, and they didn’t lose any of their three matches. Ian Poulter drilled him in singles. Kuchar is most feared in the team room during their table tennis competition.

___

PHIL MICKELSON

Age: 42.

World ranking: 15.

Ryder Cups: 8.

Ryder Cup record: 11-17-6.

Career victories: 42.

2012 victories: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Majors: 4.

2012 Majors:Masters-T3, US Open-T65, British Open-Cut, PGA Championship-T36.

Backspin: The most experienced player on either side, Mickelson will set a U.S. record by playing in his ninth Ryder Cup, breaking the record he shared with Lanny Wadkins, Raymond Floyd and Billy Casper. However, he is two losses away from trying an American record for most matches lost. Some were suggesting Mickelson would playing sparingly, though he has turned his game around in recent weeks and could hold the key to a U.S. win _ especially if that claw putting grip carries him.

___

STEVE STRICKER

Age: 45.

World ranking: 10.

Ryder Cups: 2.

Ryder Cup record: 3-3-1.

Career victories: 12.

2012 victories: Tournament of Champions.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T47, US Open-T15, British Open-T23, PGA Championship-T7.

Backspin: He hasn’t won since the season opener at Kapalua, and Stricker struggled this summer with his putting, of all things. He was an obvious pick as a partner for Woods, and for his putting _ even when it’s not good, it’s better than most everyone else. He considers Chicago a second home. As much attention as there will be on his putting, the key for Stricker is to have a good week with the driver.

___

JIM FURYK

Age: 42.

World ranking: 28.

Ryder Cups: 7.

Ryder Cup record: 8-15-4.

Career victories: 18.

2012 victories: None.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-11, US Open-T4, British Open-T34, PGA Championship-T42.

Backspin: No other captain’s pick will face as much scrutiny as Furyk. Even though Davis Love III singled him out as a pick early on, Furyk is the only American on the team who has not won this year, and two of his close calls are remembered for his failures _ the 3-wood he hooked on the 16th hole of the U.S. Open to fall out of a tie for the lead, and his double bogey at Firestone on the 18th that cost him the win. He was picked because he plays tough, and he was at his best in a singles loss to Luke Donald last year that went 18 holes. Against anyone else, Donald might have won that match on the 13th hole.

___

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 28.

World ranking: 12.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup record: 1-3-0

Career victories: 6.

2012 victories: St. Jude Classic.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-DNP, US Open-Cut, British Open-T9, PGA Championship-T48.

Backspin: For all his talent, he has been described as “awkward” when it comes to team competition. He was a bust with Phil Mickelson at Wales, and he didn’t fare much better with Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup last year. Still, he is playing as well as any American going into the Ryder Cup, having finished no worse than sixth in the three playoff events. He is long, confident and likely will be a strong Ryder Cup contributor at some point.

___

BRANDT SNEDEKER

Age: 31.

World ranking: 18.

Ryder Cups: Rookie.

Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0.

Career victories: 3.

2012 victories: Farmers Insurance Open.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T19, US Open-DNP, British Open-T3, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: Snedeker essentially played his way onto the team with his performance at two playoff events, and with a putting display at the British Open. His lone victory came at the expense of Kyle Stanley’s collapse at Torrey Pines. He missed a month in the summer with a rib injury, and it took him most of the year to replace a broken driver. He plays quick, he talks faster, he is high energy, he doesn’t back down and even the putts he misses look like they’re going in. The unknown is how he responds to loudest, most one-sided gallery in golf.