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When it comes to Ryder Cup captain’s picks, it’s impossible to please everybody.
One man who might have good reason to be unhappy, however, is Cameron Young.
The world No.17, who was ranked ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, wasn’t among the six names revealed as Zach Johnson’s picks this afternoon, despite many believing he would be heading to Rome.
In fact, one of those who certainly believed he would be on the plane to Rome is vice-captain Fred Couples. Speaking on the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio at the end of July, Couples said that “Cameron Young will be in Italy.”
That comment was taken at face value by most, and we can only imagine Young took it as fact too.
Fast forward a month, and something clearly changed. Cameron Young will, in fact, not be in Italy.
Why is Cameron Young not on the Ryder Cup team?
It’s a question that only Zach Johnson knows the answer to, but we can certainly speculate. Here’s a few factors that might have come into play in Johnson’s thinking.
During Johnson’s announcement, he mentioned course-fit being an important consideration for his picks. Whether Cameron Young fits the bill for Marco Simone is an interesting proposition.
This year’s venue is a long and demanding golf course from the tee box, an aspect of Cam Young’s game that is very strong. He’s ranked ninth in Strokes Gained: Off the tee on the PGA Tour this year and is third in average driving distance for 2023.
As a potential alternate shot partner, that seems like a great asset to have.
However, it’s possible that Johnson has overlooked Young due to a cold putter this year.
The 26-year-old is 145th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Although that’s not a ringing endorsement, the man from New York did show signs of resurrecting that form.
In his final appearance on the PGA tour this season at the BMW Championship, Young was second in that same stat. Although it’s just one week, it was a dramatic improvement. Clearly, however, it wasn’t enough to persuade Johnson.
If Johnson had concerns about Young’s suitability to the format of the Ryder Cup, he only had to look back to earlier this year. The man who finished runner-up to Cam Smith at the 150th Open made it to the final of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.
Of course, the man who beat Cam Young in that final might be the exact reason he isn’t heading to Rome.
Sam Burns was the first man listed by Zach Johnson in his announcement press conference, but it’s unlikely he was the easiest pick for the captain.
Burns, who is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, picked up his most recent win on the PGA Tour in Austin, Texas at the WGC. If Johnson was searching for a good putter to round out his team, Burns, who is 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting, fits the bill.
If the Ryder Cup comes down to a single putt, Johnson would probably want Sam Burns hitting it rather than Cameron Young.
As many others have pointed out, too, Burns is a good friend of world No.1 Scottie Scheffler.
Could it just be the case that Young wasn’t part of the so-called ‘Boys Club’?
If that’s the case, then Zach Johnson had better hope his faith in his six captain’s picks pays off.
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