Why all the mystery and drama behind the final U.S. Ryder Cup pick?

On Sunday night, during halftime of the nationally televised Chicago Bears-Dallas Cowboys game, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will look into a camera lens and reveal the identity of his 12th and final team member.

It’s all a big mystery. Many believe it’s just a formality until Bubba Watson’s name is announced. Others think it will be Jim Furyk, who hasn’t played in a few weeks. There are even some who inexplicably insist it will be Tiger Woods, who hasn’t played in over a year.

But it shouldn’t be any of them.

Love, who is here this week, should pound his fist on a podium and scream in his best Mike Singletary impersonation: “I want winners!”

That’s right. The captain should make his intention crystal clear to each of the dozen American players at the Tour Championship who aren’t already on the roster:

Win and you’re in.

Isn’t that what he wanted in the first place? Isn’t that the whole reason why the so-called task force pushed back the final captain’s pick until the eve of the competition? Don’t they want to capitalize on picking the hot hand?

Instead, Love has remained disappointingly noncommittal. When I asked him last week if he’d only consider players who are in this week’s field, he balked at the suggestion.

“There are guys on our list that are in the Tour Championship and guys on our list that aren’t in the Tour Championship,” he said. “That’s why we waited until the last minute, so we would have every option.”

But he shouldn’t want to have every option. He should want a player to force his hand, to feel the pressure on his shoulders all week and perform under that pressure. He should want a player best equipped to deal with the frayed nerves that will undoubtedly develop on the first tee at Hazeltine next week.

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