US wildcards complete formidable line-up
Steve Stricker was the last name announced as the American wildcard picks were revealed but he would have been top of the list in the mind of skipper Davis Love III.
The 45-year-old has not enjoyed the most spectacular of years on the PGA Tour but has been steady enough to retain a place in the world's top ten.
Stricker is a former student at the University of Illinois which will sit well with the Medinah crowds, he is a very dependable putter and a great team man.
Above all of that he is a ready made partner for Tiger Woods.
Steve Stricker has been chosen as one of the four wild cards to represent the USA in the Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty
And it is Woods who is the real dangerman in this very strong looking American team. The years of flattering to deceive in Ryder Cups are long gone for the former world number one.
America's captain revealed his picks at the headquarters of New York's Stock Exchange. Love can surely bank on Woods to deliver a fund of points to bolster the US bid to regain the trophy.
In the days when Woods was golf's undisputed dominant force it was hard for American skippers to identify a partner who would not be inhibited by the great man.
Woods also found it difficult to accept the dilution of his powers when paired with an inferior golfer.
Whether it was his best friend Mark O'Meara or his greatest rival Phil Mickelson it just didn't work to the expected effect and the American cause would be duly undermined.
In 1999 Woods was given three different partners (Tom Lehman, David Duval and Steve Pate) and three years later Paul Azinger and Mark Calcavecchia tried to forge a successful alliance with the man who was sweeping the game's board individually.
Ironically it was Love who finally proved an effective second day ally for Woods in that clash at the Belfry.
Jim Furyk combined pretty well with him in 2006 and they won half their matches at the K Club, but it is the combination with Stricker that has brought the best out of Woods.
At Celtic Manor two years ago they claimed two out of a three possible points together and both won their singles matches. Their only defeat came at the hands of an inspired foursomes pairing of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.
A year earlier they won all four matches paired together in the US Presidents' Cup victory over the Rest of the World at Harding Park in San Francisco.
So Love can rest easy that in Stricker he has the ideal partner for the biggest name in his team. Woods was America's leading point scorer in 2006 and after missing the match in 08 team-mate bettered his three out of four points at Celtic Manor.
But it would be wrong to give the impression that this US side is all about one big personality. The striking characteristic is its strength in depth which can be measured in the names who failed to make it into the team.
Hunter Mahan beat Rory McIlroy to win the year's biggest matchplay title at the WGC Championship in February - one of two titles he won this season.
Although still in the world's top twenty, Mahan's recent form has not been good enough to keep pace with those who received the call to arms; Stricker, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson and Furyk.
Nick Watney's superb victory at the Barclays last week wasn't enough and nor was Rickie Fowler's chutzpah and excellent record when representing his country.
Johnson's prodigious length should suit the anticipated Medinah set up to a tee, Furyk will be the wise grey-beard of the team room, although 15 losses in 27 Ryder Cup matches gives cause for European optimism.
Snedeker is the form man, America's hottest putter and the fourth rookie in Love's team.
The US skipper is entitled to feel he has an excellent blend of youth, experience and form.
Make no mistake this is a formidable team that along with Woods boasts major winners in Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Furyk.
As noted last week, Jose Maria Olazabal's Europe are shaping up very nicely as well, Rory McIlroy's latest brilliant win fuels the feel-good factor.
With all 24 players involved in the world's top 36 for this Ryder Cup, it threatens to be an epic match in the Chicago suburbs.
Both captains have impressed so far; both appear to have made the correct wildcard choices and the right noises.
This particularly applies to Love. He named Stricker last because he decided to announce his wildcards in height order (Dustin Johnson first).
But more significantly he announced his eight qualifiers in alphabetical order. So many of his predecessors have used the order in which their teams qualified.
This can send a subliminally hierarchical message. By using the alphabetical method preferred by European skippers, Love is showing he intends to mould a team of equals rather than a group of individuals.
It's a subtle but significant move that combined with home advantage and strength in depth means America should be regarded as slight favourites to reclaim the famous trophy later this month.