Team USA for the 2023 Ryder Cup

Zach Johnson’s six captain’s picks have completed Team USA for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Here’s the team in detail – and why it proved controversial.

The Team USA captain already had his six automatic qualifiers locked in following the conclusion of the BMW Championship on August 20. Those players finished in the top six in the U.S. team qualification rankings.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark, Open champion Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele qualified automatically in this order for the 12-man squad.

They will be joined by Johnson’s captain’s picks: Brooks Koepka (7th in the U.S. team qualification rankings), Jordan Spieth (8th), Collin Morikawa (10th), Sam Burns (12th) , Rickie Fowler (13th), and Justin Thomas (15th).

They will compete against Team Europe on September 29 – October 1 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.

Controversial selection

The inclusion of Justin Thomas raised the most eyebrows and comes in the middle of a poor spell of form for the former world No. 1. Now ranked 26, he missed the cut at the Masters, the Open and the U.S. Open, and finished T-65 at the PGA. He has only claimed two top-10 finishes since February and missed the cut six times.

He did however produce a spirited performance at his most recent tournament, the Wyndham Championship where he finished T-12 in what proved to be an unsuccessful bid to qualify for the FedExCup play-offs, finishing one place outside the top 70 in the season-long points list.

He ended the season in 15th place in the U.S. team qualification rankings, six places below Cameron Young (9th), who was not picked perhaps due to a recent dip in form, and only one place above Lucas Glover (16th) who also missed out despite recent back-to-back wins at the Wyndham and the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

Thomas also finished four places below Keegan Bradley (11th), who won’t be on the plane to Italy despite winning the Travelers Championship and the ZOZO Championship this season and finishing T-9 at the recent Tour Championship.

Bradley said: “I’m super bummed out. I thought I put together a really good year with two wins. I’ve always been an outsider in the sport.”

Johnson has faced accusations of creating a ‘boys club’ with his selections. Among his other captain’s picks were Spieth and Fowler, who are both close friends with Thomas, and Burns who is best friends with Scheffler.

Thomas’ Ryder Cup record does however stand at an impressive 6-2-1 (wins-losses-halves), playing in 2018 when Team Europe won and in 2021 when Team USA won.

Johnson said: “JT has been the heart and soul of U.S. Ryder Cup teams, our emotional leader. Overall he has a fantastic Ryder Cup record. His passion for the Ryder Cup is very evident. You just don’t leave JT at home.”

With all the selections now set, Team USA will have four rookies in Italy, though they will have two players who have played in four Ryder Cups.

For Team Europe, the leading three players on the European Points List and the leading three players on the World Points List will secure their places in the European side, with Luke Donald naming six captain’s picks to complete the line-up on September 4.

Team USA: Automatic qualifiers

Scottie Scheffler

Age: 27
World Ranking: 1
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2021)
Ryder Cup record: 2-0-1 (wins-losses-halves)

Wyndham Clark

Age: 29
World Ranking: 10
Ryder Cup appearances: Debut

Brian Harman

Age: 36
World Ranking: 9
Ryder Cup appearances: Debut

Patrick Cantlay

Age: 31
World Ranking: 5
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2021)
Ryder Cup record: 3-0-1

Max Homa

Age: 32
World Ranking: 7
Ryder Cup appearances: Debut

Xander Schauffele

Age: 29
World Ranking: 6
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2021)
Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0

Captain’s picks

Brooks Koepka

Age: 32
World Ranking: 14
Ryder Cup appearances: 3 (2016, 2018, 2021)
Ryder Cup record: 6-5-1

Jordan Spieth

Age: 30
World Ranking: 12
Ryder Cup appearances: 4 (2014, 2016, 2018, 2021)
Ryder Cup record: 8-7-3

Collin Morikawa

Age: 26
World Ranking: 19
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2021)
Ryder Cup record: 3-0-1

Sam Burns

Age: 27
World Ranking: 21
Ryder Cup appearances: Debut

Rickie Fowler

Age: 34
World Ranking: 25
Ryder Cup appearances: 4 (2010, 2014, 2016, 2018)
Ryder Cup record: 3-7-5

Justin Thomas

Age: 30
World Ranking: 26
Ryder Cup appearances: 2 (2018, 2021)
Ryder Cup record: 6-2-1

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