- Koepka and Thomas among wildcard picks
- Huge strength in depth for Johnson
- Europe to name team on September 4
Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas have been announced as two of the six wildcard selections for the forthcoming Ryder Cup by United States captain Zach Johnson.
Koepka, the US PGA champion, was unable to secure enough points for an automatic qualification due to his participation in LIV Golf last year. Meanwhile, Thomas failed to make it to the season-ending FedEx Cup play-offs.
Burns, Fowler, Morikawa and Spieth also named
In addition to Koepka and Thomas, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, and Jordan Spieth have also been chosen to represent the US in the match against Europe. These selections will join the team’s automatic qualifiers: Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Max Homa, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Patrick Cantlay, completing the 12-man roster.
Johnson expressed his confidence in these wildcard picks, emphasising the collaborative effort behind the decisions. He stated, “A lot of time, lot of energy has gone into this process. I’m very confident in these six [picks]. That confidence comes from simply surrounding myself with great people. These are six guys who make the other guys whole.”
Three of 2023’s major winners in the USA team
The 44th edition of the Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place from 29 September to 1 October at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome. Notably, three out of the four major winners of 2023 are part of Johnson’s team: Harman, who won The Open, Clark, who secured the US Open title, and Koepka, the PGA Championship victor.
Despite a challenging year for Thomas, who faced disappointments like missing cuts at the US Open and The Open, Johnson lauded his Ryder Cup experience and leadership qualities, deeming him an essential asset to the team. Johnson explained, “Justin Thomas is one of the most talented players on the PGA Tour in my opinion. He has been, without question, the heart and soul of US Ryder Cup teams, our emotional leader. Overall [he has] a fantastic Ryder Cup record. His passion for the Ryder Cup is very evident. In my mind he is born for this and you just don’t leave JT at home.”
Koepka, the sole representative of LIV Golf on the team, faced restrictions in earning qualifying points for the Ryder Cup due to the PGA of America’s decision not to consider LIV Golf events for their rankings. Johnson, however, highlighted Koepka’s impressive track record as a five-time major champion and his suitability for the grand stage of the Ryder Cup.
The USA are the current holders of the Ryder Cup following a decisive 19-9 victory in Wisconsin in 2021. However, their last win on European soil dates back 30 years, with their victory at the Belfry in Warwickshire in 1993.
Donald to name European team on September 4
The European qualification process is set to conclude on 3 September, after the European Masters in Switzerland. Similar to the US, the top six European players in the standings will earn automatic spots, while captain Luke Donald will have six picks to complete the team, to be announced on 4 September. Notably, golfers like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, and Tyrrell Hatton have already secured their places in the European team. McIlroy, Rahm, the 2023 Masters champion and Hovland are all ranked in the world’s top five at the time of writing.
Punters looking to bet on the Ryder Cup will need to analyse the USA’s team selection, wait for Europe’s team to be named.and analyse the form of the players going into the tournament.