NEW YORK » Tiger Woods was a no-brainer as a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.
Rickie Fowler required a little more than deep thought.
"It just came down to feelings," captain Corey Pavin said. "I had a gut feeling about Rickie."
Fowler, the 21-year-old mop top who only turned pro 11 months ago, made history yesterday as the first PGA Tour rookie on the American team and the first captain’s pick to have never won on tour.
He was the only big mystery when Pavin announced his four picks at the New York Stock Exchange. Pavin also chose a pair of major champions, Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson, both of whom have played the Ryder Cup on the road.
The matches will be held Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales.
Fowler will be the youngest American to play in the Ryder Cup since Woods in 1997, but only the second-youngest player at Celtic Manor. Rory McIlroy, the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland, earned his way onto the European team.
"I can bring a little bit of color to the team, I can bring some youth to the team and hopefully, get the guys pumped up a little bit," Fowler said. "But as I said, we’re all going over there to win, so we’re all going to be getting each other pumped and focusing on our main goal, bringing home the cup."
The Americans won two years ago in Kentucky, and will try to win for the first time overseas since 1993 at The Belfry.
This will be the sixth Ryder Cup team for Woods, but the first in which he needed to be picked. Woods had finished first in the standings every time, including in 2008, when he spent the second half of the year recovering from knee surgery.
"It’s great to be a part of this team," Woods said. "I’m honored to be selected … and looking forward to going back and having a great time with the team and hopefully, bring the Cup back."
The eight Americans who qualified after the PGA Championship were Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Jeff Overton.
European captain Colin Montgomerie said Pavin used his four picks "to good effect."
"Like my European team, the American side has an excellent blend of youthful talent alongside some seasoned Ryder Cup campaigners, and I am delighted to see Tiger Woods amongst Corey’s selections," he said. "The Ryder Cup is a better event with him in it."
Cink made his fifth consecutive team — his third as a captain’s pick — while Johnson is playing for the second time.
The final selection — and Pavin’s most difficult — went to Fowler, the first PGA Tour rookie to make the U.S. team. While the former Oklahoma State star has three runner-up finishes a pro, he still hasn’t won, and has not had a top 10 for three months.
Fowler played in the Walker Cup twice and went 7-1, including a 4-0 record at Merion last year. Pavin was not the least bit concerned that Fowler will be making his debut before fans who will be pulling against him.
"I think he can handle it, and that’s why I picked him," Pavin said. "I think he’s a very mature young man. He’s had experience in international play. He’s got a very steady head on his shoulders."
No one else stood out over the last three weeks. In the final tournament before Pavin’s picks, none of the 14 players on the captain’s short list finished among the top 10.
According to people with knowledge of the decision, the final selection came down to Fowler and big-hitting J.B. Holmes, who tied for 11th at the TPC Boston. Holmes went 2-0-1 two years ago playing before a home crowd at Valhalla.