NEW YORK • Two-time Major winner Bubba Watson missed out as United States captain Davis Love III named three of his four captain's picks for the Ryder Cup on Monday.
World No. 7 Watson, the 2012 and 2014 Masters champion, was overlooked in favour of Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes.
Love, who has one more pick remaining, is aiming to mastermind a US victory at Hazeltine in Minnesota from Sept 30 to Oct 2 after three straight wins for Europe in the biennial golf battle.
All three players named by Love on Monday have an inferior world ranking to Watson - Fowler is ranked ninth, Kuchar 17th and Holmes 21st.
Kuchar and Holmes finished joint fourth at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick on Sunday, but Fowler could manage only 59th, which cost him his place at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club for the season finale and left him wondering over the Ryder Cup wildcard picks.
Love told a news conference that he had focused on finding the right blend of players rather than relying on rankings or form.
And he warned that even if the unpopular Watson were to enjoy a stellar finish to the season's Tour Championship it might not be enough to force his way onto the team.
"We've looked at a lot of guys in the Tour Championship and guys that aren't," Love said. "We've got a long two weeks ahead of us. I'm going to announce our last pick based on what fits best for our team, not who shoots the lowest score in the last tournament."
Watson is one of the most polarising figures on the PGA Tour.
In an ESPN poll last year, he came out on top when 103 players were asked which fellow professional they would be least likely to help if they saw the person in a parking-lot brawl.
Love said he and his vice-captains had agonised until late on Sunday before deciding on the three picks.
"We went through a lot of scenarios and talked about a lot of great players," he said. "It was a very tough decision. But we kept coming back to these three for now."