If the Ryder Cup wildcard picks were based on social media
A few weeks ago, when US captain Jim Furyk was asked about the chances of Tiger Woods being selected to face Europe in golf’s upcoming Ryder Cup, he used the word “trending”. That got us thinking…
Eight players for each side are automatically selected based on the amount of points they’ve scored over the last year. The remaining four are handpicked by the captain based on various measures they deem most important.
So, if social media popularity was the only measure, our infographic below (click to enlarge) shows Tiger would be a shoe-in for a wildcard or captain’s pick. He has the greatest following (10.5 million) of any of the players on both sides taking or potentially taking part – nearly double that of the nearest challenger, Europe’s Rory McIlroy (5.9 million). For the European wildcards, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia would be the biggest beneficiaries of a social media-based pick, having more followers than any other European player already qualified or in the frame, except for McIlroy.
Indeed, if the entire 12 were picked due to social media, Matt Fitzpatrick and Rafa Cabrera Bello would take the places of automatic selections Tyrell Hatton and Alex Noren.
If we took it one step further and the entire contest was based on social media, the US would be the runaway winners, totalling 28.4 million followers across the eight automatics and four wildcards with the highest followings – nearly double that of Europe’s 13.1 million. This ratio would see the US triumph 18 1/2 points to Europe’s 9 1/2.
It’s interesting to note that across the 32 players most in contention, the European team’s social following is more concentrated around Twitter (61.6%) than the US (54.6%) whilst the Americans are more reliant on both Instagram (28.8%) and Facebook (16.7%) than Europe is (25.8% and 12.6%, respectively).
Among the Europeans, Poulter is the most reliant on Twitter – it accounts for 84% of his social following – for Instagram, its Alex Noren (89%) and on Facebook, its McIlroy (21%). For the US, Phil Mickelson relies 100% on Twitter for his social following, Bryson DeChambeau is the most reliant on Instagram (77%) while Matt Kuchar is the most so on Facebook (49%).
If you’re an athlete looking to improve your social media profile, read this article by social media expert Natasha Woolsey.