The USA’s Ryder Cup team was finalized on Wednesday as Steve Stricker announced his six captain’s picks, which included three-time major champion Jordan Spieth and recently crowned Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele.
The other four captain’s picks for golf’s biennial tournament, which gets underway at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin on September 24, were Harris English, Scottie Scheffler, Daniel Berger, and Tony Finau.
English, Berger, Scheffler and Schauffele will all be making their Ryder Cup debuts, while Spieth, who will make his fourth appearance, and Finau were part of the US team defeated 17½-10½ by Europe three years ago.
“We’re looking for the best players to perform here at Whistling Straits and these six guys that we picked, we feel like (they) fit Whistling Straits to a tee,” Stricker said during a press conference on Wednesday.
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Those six players join Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay, who all automatically qualified based on points earned from performances over the past two years.
Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion who featured in the Ryder Cup team that year, is the top-ranked American player to miss out on a captain’s pick.
“That was a very, very difficult call, I kind of lost sleep over that one,” said Stricker. “He’s a tremendous competitor, he brings a lot to matchplay golf, his record here at the Ryder Cup is pretty darn good.
“It was a very difficult call, it wasn’t an easy one. It was just the uncertainty really of his health and really the lack of play that lead to our decision down the stretch.”
Reed was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia last month and returned to action at last week’s Tour Championship.
USA has won just two of the past nine Ryder Cups, with this year marking the 43rd edition of the tournament having been postponed from last year amid the pandemic.
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Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland have all earned automatic qualification for Team Europe based on the world and European points lists.
Four more automatic qualification spots are still up for grabs, plus three picks from captain Padraig Harrington set to be announced on Sunday.