With Tuesday's announcement by Captain Davis Love that Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Brendt Snedeker and Jim Furyk would round out this year's 12-man Ryder Cup team, the hole in Hunter Mahan's heart may have grown a bit.
Mahan was certainly in the final considerations, and his desire to return to the every-two-years classic -- this year's in Chicago - -likely has more to do with memories than simply professional accomplishment.
On an early October Day at Celtic Manor in Wales two years ago, with the rain finally taking a break and the U.S. team putting on a stirring rally against the Europeans, it came down to the final match between Graeme McDowell and Mahan. Mahan had known that his tee time in those singles match-play finals could likely put him on the final hot seat, and he had nodded yes to Captain Corey Pavin's request.
Mahan's U.S. teammate, Jim Furyk, said later that most pro golfers would admit they wanted no part of the pressure cooker Mahan had taken on.
Add to that the fact that McDowell, the Northern Irishman, was having the best year of his life with a U.S. Open trophy already sitting on his mantle, and Mahan was taking on a huge challenge.