U.S. captain Tom Watson went with experience and a gut feeling Tuesday night when he filled out his Ryder Cup team with Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson.
Not so valuable was recent success. He left out Chris Kirk, who finished higher in the final Ryder Cup standings than Simpson, and who won the Deutsche Bank Championship a day earlier by going head-to-head with Rory McIlroy the final 36 holes.
“That was a snapshot,” Watson said of his decision not to take Kirk.
The other two choices were not surprising. Even though Bradley has not won a tournament in two years and missed out by three spots qualifying on his own, he has raw power suited for this event and won all three matches in a partnership with Phil Mickelson two years ago at Medinah.
Mahan is the only pick who has been on a winning team, though he is associated more with the wrenching emotion that losing brings. Mahan was in the decisive match four years ago at Wales when Graeme McDowell made all the right shots in another European victory.
Mahan was left off the 2012 team, even though he narrowly missed qualifying.
Whomever he chose, Watson's message was clear. The Ryder Cup, to be played Sept. 26-28 at Gleneagles in Scotland, is all about redemption.
The Americans were poised to win at Medinah two years ago when they took a 10-6 lead into the final day, only for Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer to deliver key putts and big comebacks that allowed Europe to retain the cup.
Europe has won seven of the last nine times, and it will be heavily favored in Scotland.
Earlier Tuesday, at the European Tour headquarters in Wentworth, captain Paul McGinley selected Poulter, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher, who will be 39 when he makes his Ryder Cup debut in his home country.
U.S. Ryder Cup team:
Captain: Tom Watson; Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson.
European Ryder Cup team:
Captain: Paul McGinley; Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher, Scotland, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood.