Zach Johnson, the United States Ryder Cup captain, has made his highly anticipated wildcard picks for the upcoming Ryder Cup, and it’s a formidable roster. Among his selections are Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas, two top-tier golfers who narrowly missed automatic qualification.
Koepka, the US PGA champion and the only player in the LIV league taking part in the event didn’t secure the necessary points for automatic qualification, partly due to his involvement with LIV Golf last year. Justin Thomas also found himself outside the automatic qualifiers, missing out on the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs.
Johnson’s wildcard picks further include Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, and Jordan Spieth, rounding out a dynamic 12-man team. These six join the automatic qualifiers: Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Max Homa, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Patrick Cantlay.
In Johnson’s words, “A lot of time, lot of energy has gone into this process,” highlighting his confidence in these selections and the strength they bring to the team.
Notably, three of the four major winners in 2023 are on Johnson’s squad, with Harman, Clark, and Koepka claiming The Open, the US Open, and the PGA Championship, respectively.
The 44th Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place from September 29 to October 1 at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome. Team USA, as the defending champions, will aim to maintain their winning streak after a resounding 19-9 victory in Wisconsin in 2021. However, they face the challenge of winning on European soil, where their last victory occurred 30 years ago at the Belfry in Warwickshire in 1993.
European qualification is still ongoing, with the top six players in the standings set to secure automatic spots. Captain Luke Donald will announce his six wildcard picks on September 4 as the European team looks to assemble a strong lineup featuring stars like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, and Tyrrell Hatton, who have already secured their qualification spots.