Shock selections & ‘criminal’ absences: Everything you need to know about the 2023 Ryder Cup teams


      Shock selections & ‘criminal’ absences: Everything you need to know about the 2023 Ryder Cup teams

European captain Luke Donald and US captain Zach Johnson pose with the Ryder Cup trophy at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, in October 2022. Andrew Redington/Getty Images CNN  — 

The teams are in – and Ryder Cup fever has officially taken hold.

A week on from Zach Johnson announcing his six captain’s picks for the United States team, European counterpart Luke Donald confirmed his choices Monday to finalize the 12-man rosters set to do battle at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy, from September 29 to October 1.

It’s a mission of revenge for Team Europe, having suffered the ignominy of a historically crushing 19 – 9 defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021.

The Americans arrive with a point to prove of their own, seeking to end a 30-year wait for a win on European soil.

From inevitable inclusions to controversial captain’s picks, here’s everything you need to know about the 24 golfers lining up for 44th edition of the biennial competition.

Team USA

Captain: Zach Johnson

A member of five US teams as a player, Johnson is a veteran of the Ryder Cup.

Having made his debut in 2006, the two-time major winner tasted defeat in his first four appearances but signed off with a resounding home victory at Hazeltine in 2016.

The 47-year-old served as vice-captain to Steve Stricker during the comprehensive triumph at Whistling Straits two years ago, with Stricker named as one of Johnson’s five vices for Rome, joining Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples and Stewart Cink.

      Shock selections & ‘criminal’ absences: Everything you need to know about the 2023 Ryder Cup teams

Johnson is tasked with ending three decades of European dominance on the continent. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Automatic qualifiers: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele

Two of the year’s major champions and nobody outside the world’s top-10 ranked players: Team USA’s six automatic qualifiers have all enjoyed excellent seasons.

At the tip of the spear is world No. 1 Scheffler – Johnson’s “Mr. Consistency” – who accumulated more Ryder Cup points than the next two closest players combined since the start of 2022.

The 27-year-old has amassed six PGA Tour wins in that period, including a triumph at last year’s Masters, and racked up 17 top-10 finishes from just 23 starts across the 2022/23 Tour season.

      Shock selections & ‘criminal’ absences: Everything you need to know about the 2023 Ryder Cup teams

Scheffler has enjoyed another stellar year. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Yet despite a string of impressive showings, Scheffler could not get over the line in the majors in 2023 – unlike Clark and Harman, who clinched career-first major titles at the US Open and Open Championship respectively.

Those wins helped the pair cruise to a debut Ryder Cup roster slot, with six-time PGA Tour winner Homa also making his first appearance this year. Cantlay and Schauffele joined Scheffler on the triumphant 2021 team, with both adding three points.

From “prom king” Homa to “bulldog” Harman, Johnson believes his automatic picks will bring both prowess and personality.

“Quality guys, great competitors, and probably better off the course than even on it,” Johnson told reporters.

US captain’s picks: Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas

It’s almost impossible for a Ryder Cup captain to dodge at least some level of dispute when deciding on his wildcard picks, but two of Johnson’s inclusions have drawn particular scrutiny.

In Koepka, LIV Golf will have a representative at the tournament.

Even as tensions between the warring tours have cooled, uncertainty as to whether golfers that played on the breakaway Saudi-backed series could make the US team lingered as recently as July, when Johnson said LIV Golf players would “technically” be eligible to join the roster.

Given that LIV Golf players could only accumulate qualification points through the majors, it is a testament to Koepka’s superb form that he finished a mere 29 points off Schauffele’s 9450.269-point haul for the sixth and final automatic spot.

The resurgent 33-year-old finished runner-up at The Masters before clinching his fifth major title at the PGA Championship in May and finishing tied-17th at the US Open.

Subsequently, selecting Koepka for his fourth Ryder Cup appearance was an “easy pick” for his captain.

“His experience, his temperament, the way he goes about his work, his passion for the Ryder Cup all spoke volumes,” Johnson said.

“Brooks is great in the team room and great inside the ropes. These guys wanted him, I wanted him. A very natural fit.”


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