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Davis Love reveals his wildcard criteria

ESPN staff
August 14, 2012 « Little hope of GB football teams at Rio | Chartbeat test »

United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has told players hoping to get one of his four wildcard picks to impress him over the next three weeks if they want to avoid disappointment.

Love has four places still up for grabs in his 12-man lineup for the September event at Medinah, after eight players secured their berths following the conclusion of the qualification process at last week's US PGA Championship.

And Love says how the remaining candidates fare in the big PGA Tour tournaments coming up in August will factor into his final decision.

"You've got to go down the list, you've got to look at a bunch of guys, you've got to put a lot into it," Love said of his decision-making process. "Nobody is really out of it, because if you get hot over the next three weeks, we're going to want you on the team.

"So I would encourage everybody to relax and go play - there's no set formula to make it now, it's whoever's hot and we'll lean towards experience."

Experts across the Atlantic have suggested that Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker - ninth and tenth on the final points list - are almost guaranteed to be handed wildcards, while the experienced Jim Furyk is also someone Love wants on his team.

The American appeared to give those reports some credence with his comments - although he insisted the likes of Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson should not consider themselves to be fighting over one remaining spot.

"We're going to need some guys with experience, that's obvious," Love said. "When you look at our top 15 or 20, some names obviously jump out at you - Hunter has won twice this year, it's hard to believe he didn't get in on points with the year that he's had. Stricker has moved up and Furyk has moved up, you've got a lot of experience there.

"Rickie has played [in the event before], Brandt has been out a little bit, as has Dustin with injury, so you've got to give them a little bit more credit on points."

Other than experience, Love stressed that how the wildcard picks will fit in with the rest of the team will also affect his thinking. That plays into the hands of Stricker, for example, who is renowned for being Tiger Woods' preferred playing partner in team events - while Fowler, who has recently enjoyed cutting banter with Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner on Twitter, could also benefit.

"Even though we don't get credit for it, we bond together, we have a great time and those sort of things are certainly important when putting a team together," Love noted. "We have a lot of guys who can play golf really well - that's easy. I could just throw a dart at it and just pick four guys who are really good golfers.

"It's picking a team who are going to match up well, who's going to play with Tiger, who's going to play with Bubba, who's going to play with Jason. We need to pick their perfect partner out of that list so that will definitely be a factor."

Love also announced that Jeff Sluman and Scott Verplank will complete his list of non-playing vice captains.

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