Ohio: Fred Couples opted for a blend of experience and emerging talent while Nick Price banked on current form when they announced their captain’s picks yesterday for next month’s Presidents Cup in Dublin, Ohio.
Couples chose former major winner Webb Simpson and rookie sensation Jordan Spieth as his wild cards for the US team. Price went for fellow Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge and Australian Marc Leishman to round out his 12-man International lineup.
Spieth, Leishman and de Jonge will be making their first appearances in the biennial team competition while Simpson is set for his second stint with the US after making his Cup debut in Australia in 2011.
Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, was widely expected to be included for the Ryder Cup-style competition after spending most of the past two years in the automatic top 10 in the US points standings before finishing up in 11th.
Red-hot PGA Tour rookie Spieth was a much bolder selection but had captured Couples’ attention with a sizzling run of form over the past two months.
The 20-year-old won his maiden PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic in July, lost out in a play-off for last month’s Wyndham Championship and rocketed into a tie for fourth at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday after closing with a 62.
Burly Zimbabwean de Jonge, though yet to win on the PGA Tour, has established a reputation as a ‘birdie machine’ on the US circuit and gained Price’s nod after a consistent 2013 campaign capped by a strong start to the FedExCup play-offs.
Whereas, Leishman, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2012 Travelers Championship, has recorded four-top-10s this season.
The victory helped him effectively sealed his Cup debut by finishing 16th at the Deutsche Bank Championship. REUTERS