US Ryder Cup team has six new players | Sunday Observer

US Ryder Cup team has six new players

12 September, 2021
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker

Morikawa will be one of six debutants on the US team - but is already a major champion and captain Steve Stricker believes his six rookies will help the US “bring the cup back where it belongs” when his side faces Europe in this month’s golf Ryder Cup.

Stricker chose Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler, Harris English and Xander Schauffele among his wildcards, to add to Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay.

Stricker, who also picked Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau, trusts his debutants.

“All are a great fit for Whistling Straits. We are super excited about these six individuals,” he said.

“US rookies have a 40-29-17 [wins-losses-halves] record so they do well in this format. And some have experience of playing in the President’s Cup so they are not rookies in team events.

“I talked to each and every one of them a couple of days ago and they are extremely excited, happy and fired up to be part of this team.”

Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau were the other automatic qualifiers for the 43rd staging of the biennial event, this time at Pete Dye-designed Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 24 to 26.

The US last featured six rookies in a team for the 2008 Ryder Cup, where they ended a run of three defeats with a 16½-11½ victory at Valhalla.

Europe have won nine of the past 12 Ryder Cups and are the defending champions after winning 17½-10½ at Golf National in Paris in 2018.

Stricker said leaving Patrick Reed out of his team was “a difficult call”. Reed, who played at last week’s season-ending Tour Championship, has been recovering from double pneumonia, which he said could have proved fatal.

The former Masters champion has won eight points from three previous appearances and Stricker added: “He’s a tremendous competitor and his record at the Ryder Cup is pretty good, but it was the uncertainty over his health and lack of play.”

Stricker also said he had talked with his vice-captains about the injury situation surrounding Koepka.

The four-time major winner withdrew from the Tour Championship during round three after hitting a tree root and injuring his wrist.

“We’ve talked about if we have to replace him but we’re not there yet,” said Stricker. “We’ll deal with that situation if that were to happen but we’re moving forward with these 12 guys.”

Originally, the US team was going to be made up of the top eight players on the points list and four wildcard picks but that was revised to six and six following the postponement of the event last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The European team, captained by Padraig Harrington, will be confirmed on Sunday, September 12 at the conclusion of the European Tour’s BMW Championship at Wentworth.

Harrington will have three picks, with nine players qualifying through the European and world points lists.

Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have already secured their spots. (BBC Sports)