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April 23, 2017

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Love names Ryder Cup wild card picks

NEW YORK -- U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love named Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker as his captain's wild card picks for the American Ryder Cup team on Tuesday.

Snedeker, who will make his first appearance in the event, was chosen on account of his stellar putting touch in the past month.

"We need hot putters," Love said. "There really hasn't been a better putter since the British Open."

The Americans will face holders Europe in the 39th edition of the biennial team golf matches on September 28-30 at Medinah golf course in Chicago.

"I look forward to getting to Medinah and trying to make Davis look like he is a genius," Snedeker joked.

Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar qualified for the American side based upon points accumulated in tournaments up to last month's PGA Championship.

"We have a great team," Love said, noting that the side has strength in depth.

"We're extremely deep this time, deeper than we have ever been. There were a lot of guys who played a lot of good golf. It was tough to leave anybody off. It was a tough call for me."

Hunter Mahan, a two-time US PGA winner this year who has struggled in recent months, was not selected and his disappointment was obvious.

"It just feels empty right now," said Mahan on not being chosen.

Furyk, making his eighth Ryder Cup start, and Stricker, another US veteran of team events, were joined by Johnson, who made his second Ryder Cup squad.

"I'm really looking forward to playing one on US soil," Johnson said, while Furyk added: "I can't be more excited."

Love said he was counting on veteran leadership from Stricker on and off the course.

"We all know how much fun it is and how much pride it takes to be part of this team," Stricker said. "It will be exciting to play for Davis. It will be tremendous to get together for that one common goal and get that Cup back."

The Ryder Cup begins three weeks from Friday. The European side, which was finalized last Monday, won in Wales in 2010.

The European side consists of world number one Rory McIlroy, world number two Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal chose Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts to round out his team.

USA Ryder Cup team

Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker

European Ryder Cup team

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Ian Poulter (England), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium)

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