Tiger Woods made his four captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup on Thursday night and one popular American player was left out: Rickie Fowler.
Woods picked Tony Finau, U.S. Open champ Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed and himself with the final captain’s pick. That’s correct, Woods will be a playing captain at the Presidents Cup this December.
While Finau, Woodland and Woods selecting himself weren’t surprising choices, Reed over Fowler was slightly surprising. However, Reed didn’t earn the nickname ‘Captain America’ by not performing well in team events, he’s somewhat of a staple anything red, white and blue these days.
During his teleconference on Thursday, Woods mentioned that making the phone call to Fowler telling him he wasn’t going to make the team was tough.
“I think the toughest call to make was the closest to making the team is Rickie,” Woods said. “That was a tough phone call. Rickie’s a good friend of mine and I’ve known him for a long time. Kept it short and quick. No reason to make it a lengthy conversation. He’s obviously going to be very disappointed by it. I’ve been on that side. I’ve been there when the captain didn’t choose me, and I get it. It’s not easy.”
That quote certainly makes it sound like Fowler would have been a captain’s pick had Tiger not performed so well a few weeks ago when he won the ZOZO Championship in Japan. Fowler didn’t necessarily help his chances of making the team either as he hasn’t played in a tournament since August and also got married in October.
Making this U.S. Presidents Cup team wasn’t an easy feat seeing how stacked the squad truly is. With all of this being said, Brooks Koepka is nursing a knee injury at the moment that forced him to withdraw from the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in October and if Koepka – who automatically qualified for the team – has to pull out of the event then one would assume Fowler would take his spot.
Team USA, which will be heavily favored in the event, is as follows: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Woods, Finau, Fowler, Koepka and Woodland.
The Presidents Cup will be held at Royal Melbourne in Australia Dec. 9-15. The U.S. has won 10 of the last 12 (10-1-1) and retained the Cup 19-11 back in 2017.