HILVERSUM, Netherlands – Hunter Mahan's absence from the U.S. Ryder Cup team surprised European captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
Olazabal, in Hilversum getting ready for this week's Dutch Open, was sure Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk would receive wild cards. U.S. captain Davis Love III gave the other two to Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, passing over Mahan, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and part of the last five Ryder Cup teams.
"They are very solid picks," Olazabal said Wednesday. "All the American players from nine to 14 on the list were all very solid and Davis could have picked any four.
"The only question mark as I see it was Snedeker picked ahead of Mahan, but then Davis has gone for form.
"Snedeker has pretty much been playing well from the start of the summer and all the way to the FedEx Series. However, Mahan has not been playing all that well, so (Love) went for form and in that regard he has my respect."
The Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at Medinah outside Chicago.
Olazabal, who announced his team last week, will compete with two of his players at Hilversum Golf Club, Martin Kaymer and Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts. Dutch organizers grouped the three for the opening two rounds.
"I had nothing to do with Nicolas and Martin playing alongside me for the first two rounds," said Olazabal, who won the Dutch Open in 1989. "So I am really happy with that, but then I will not be watching them all the time, as I will be focusing on my game.
"I won this event a long time ago, and very early in my career, and it would be nice to add my name to the trophy again."
Also competing this week are three of Olazabal's four vice-captains: Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez.