There always seems to be a head-scratcher when captains get a chance to pick certain players for the respective golf teams. We sat and watched Justin Rose get left off the Ryder Cup team a year ago. We had Rickie Fowler get added that had some a little confused, and then there was this year's Solheim Cup.
A rookie named Ryann O'Toole was picked to represent the United States, an unproven 24-year-old that has had some success on the Futures Tour but has had only two top 10s in her career on the LPGA. Some were confused why she was included, especially after she went on a dreadful run leading up to the Solheim Cup that saw O'Toole miss three straight cuts, but like Ben Crenshaw at Brooklyn, captains sometimes have that feeling.
O'Toole proved on Friday that Rosie Jones knew something most experts didn't. Sitting out the early matches with eventual fourball partner Christina Kim, O'Toole went out and played arguably the best golf of anyone on the first day of the Solheim, making five birdies that included some clutch putting to give her and Kim a much-needed halve, something that didn't look likely when the team was two-down with three holes to play.
Jones needs some of the credit. As we saw two years ago with Michelle Wie, it's good to pair these uptight rookies with Kim because she's the type of personality that could loosen you up in an FBI interrogation room. Sure, Christina is one of the players on the squad, but she's always Captain Momentum, and when things start going good for her and her partner, the energy is unavoidable.
O'Toole looked collected from the first tee on, and kept hitting shots and making putts that would force most to mistake her for a veteran. No matter what happens the rest of the week in Ireland, we all need to understand that Ryann was a smart pick.
Hopefully her confidence will just grow from here.