It's wild for Mahan as he becomes a Ryder Cup 'slave'

Hunter Mahan, who gained notoriety four weeks ago after branding the Ryder Cup 'slavery,' will have the chance to experience purgatory at first hand after being named as one of U.S. captain Paul Azinger's four wild cards. No word yet on whether he plans to turn up at Valhalla in a fortnight wearing leg irons.

The brash 25-year-old is one of three rookies chosen by Azinger, the others being Steve Stricker and the big-hitting, slow-playing JB Holmes.

The one mild surprise was the captain overlooking the claims of Rocco Mediate, who came within a Tiger Woods miracle of winning the U.S. Open in June, in favour of Mr Anonymity, Chad Campbell, whose wife Amy was due to give birth to their first child on Tuesday.

Scroll down for more

Steve Stricker

Debut: Stricker takes his place in the Ryder Cup team for the first time

Mahan was the intriguing selection, of course. He was probably guilty of listening to Phil Mickelson at last year's President's Cup when making his controversial comments and was mortified when he saw them in an American golf magazine.

Azinger, for his part, must have marked him down for a wild card there and then. A veritable birdie machine, anxious to amend for a rash choice of words? A no-brainer, as the yanks say.

Holmes is a similarly explosive talent perfectly suited for fourballs and another good choice. He comes from the host state, Kentucky, and knows Valhalla like the back of his hand. He was one of the stars of the victorious 2005 American Walker Cup team and loves playing in front of noisy crowds, as he showed in winning this year's Phoenix Open, which draws the largest galleries in the game.

Stricker and Campbell are not names that would put the mockers up anybody, but the former is an excellent putter and the latter a decent ball striker. Campbell will not lack motivation, having played in two Ryder Cups and seen his nation lose by a record margin on each occasion.

Scroll down for more

faldo and azinger

Leading by example: Captains Nick Faldo (left) and Paul Azinger

Azinger asked for four wild cards and the chance to complete his team a fortnight before the match thinking that he could select tournament winners who were bang in form. In the event, such is the paucity of American golf without the stricken Woods, he had none to choose from.

'Every event has been won by a foreigner,' he lamented. 'I think the last American winner on our tour was back in July and even that was a winner of a tournament played opposite the British Open. It has been very difficult.'

With Europe having won five of the past six Ryder Cups, it was hardly surprising that Azinger ultimately decided to dive into the unknown and place his faith in rookies, with half his side competing for the first time. As he so indelicately put it: 'What good is experience when the only experience you've had is getting your ass whipped?'

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now