USA Ryder Cup

    This fall, the United States has a tall task ahead of them. They haven’t won a road Ryder Cup in 30 years but are favored to end their drought this year in Rome for most of the buildup to this year’s team event. The Americans are coming off a dominant win in 2021 on home soil, with the whole team in their primes. However, the picture has gotten a little murkier as many Americans have struggled this season while the Europeans have thrived.

    Waggling hunter Brian Harman was compared to Ricky Ponting and verbally abused on his way to shock win at The Open | talkSPORT

    Photo Credit: Talk Sports

    Team USA captain Zach Johnson will have tough decisions in the coming weeks. The combination of surprise winners and some top Americans struggling has led to a mixed pool striving to make the 12-man roster. The top six Americans in the points standings automatically qualify, while Johnson will choose the remaining six players to fill out the team.

    This past weekend, American Brian Harman made Johnson’s dilemma harder. He shockingly dominant win at The Open Championship last weekend. On the course he held a sizable lead for the final three rounds. Harman was incredibly steady and unfazed throughout the weekend, never giving the rest of the field any glimpse of hope or window to come back. The former Georgia Bulldog was a maestro on the greens, sinking 59 out of his 60 putts from 10 feet and in.

    British Open 2023: You couldn't guess how Brian Harman plans to celebrate his big win if you had a thousand tries | This is the Loop |

    Photo Cred: Golf Digest

    Harman’s epic performance vaulted him into the top six, and Wyndham Clark’s win at the U.S Open has earned him a spot. That’s two top six spots nobody saw coming over a month ago. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler still is in the top spot, and PGA Champion and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka will get auto-bids.

    That leaves eight spots remaining. Two are auto bids, and six are the captain picks, with 12 worthy candidates vying for a spot. The final two automatic spots will be filled by Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, and Max Homa, depending on results in the coming weeks. Whoever out of the three doesn’t qualify is certainly a lock for a captain pick, leaving just five choices for Johnson.

    Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele lead U.S. Team's dream start - PGA TOUR

    Photo Cred: PGA Tour

    This is where it gets tricky. Cameron Young is a young up-and-comer. He has become a consistent major contender, with four top-10 finishes at majors in the last two years. Keegan Bradley has been in great form. Rickie Fowler, a cult hero in pro golf has experienced a resurgence over the past few months. Tony Finau and Sam Burns are two ultra-talented Americans Finau was a member of the 2021 team.

    After that, there is a crop of former major champions and members of the United States team who are all trying to make the team. All have been struggling of late. Three-time major champion Jordan Spieth; is likely to be selected. He has failed to crack the top 20 at the last three majors. Collin Morikawa is one of the best ball-strikers in the world. He has won two majors but hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2021.

    Then there are the final two Americans in contention. Justin Thomas is a Ryder Cup mainstay and one of the most recognizable faces in American golf. He has won two PGA Championships and is beloved in the United States locker room. However, Thomas has been in the worst slump of his career in 2023, missing the cut at three majors and finishing tied for 65th in the other. He was dead last at last weekend’s Open and can’t seem to find his game right now.

    Justin Thomas headed to 3M Open after missed cut - PGA TOUR

    Photo Cred: PGA Tour

    Two-time major champion Dustin Johnson is in a similar predicament. Johnson defected to the new LIV Tour in 2022 and has been in the shadows during the bulk of 2023. In the majors, he has been unable to make his presence felt and had a terrible showing at The Open. However, Johnson has a decorated Ryder Cup legacy and went 5-0 in his matches for the States in 2021.

    There are a lot of directions Zach Johnson can go with his choices for the 2023 squad. But there is no question that the pressure is on for the United States to end the 30-year drought on European soil. Does Johnson lead towards recent form, going with guys like Young and Fowler? Will he go with the guys who have played together, like Thomas, Spieth, and Johnson? Does the pedigree of someone like Morikawa get him a spot?

    Whatever the final squad becomes, The United States will have their hands full. Plenty of European top golfers will be motivated to defend their home turf in Rome. Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, and Matt Fitzpatrick will spearhead the Europeans. All five of them are having great seasons thus far. Teams will be finalized shortly after the Tour Championship. The 2023 Ryder Cup will be from September 25 through October 1 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

    Troy Finnegan
    Troy Finnegan
    My name is Troy Finnegan and I am a senior studying journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. I am originally from Broomfield, CO and love to ski, hike, and play golf in my free time. The sports I will be covering are football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf.

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