Brooks Koepka has fallen out of an automatic spot for the United States Ryder Cup team, but the five-time major champion remains a favorite to be included on captain Zach Johnson’s team that will take on Europe in Rome next month.
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Koepka finished second at the Masters and won the PGA Championship to vault into contention for one of the six automatic spots on the U.S. squad. However, he slid to slid to seventh when Max Homa and Xander Schauffele passed him with their respective finishes at the BWM Championship on Sunday.
Koepka will now need a captain’s pick from Johnson, who has been non-committal on his stance regarding LIV Golf players on his team.
The six automatic spots have been secured by Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Homa and Schauffele. Koepka occupies the top non-automatic spot, followed by Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa in the top 10.
Young has been installed as a 1/10 favorite by SportsBetting.ag to be one of Johnson’s six picks, followed by Morikawa and Rickie Fowler at 1/8 and Koepka at 1/5.
It sets the stage for a very dramatic build-up to Johnson announcing his selections on Aug. 29 following this week’s Tour Championship.
Spieth, who nearly blew his spot in the Tour Championship with a pair of closing bogeys on Sunday, is widely expected to make the team and isn’t even being offered among the book’s prop choices.
That would leave just five spots among a very large group of prospective picks.
Young is a rising star, but has not played in a Ryder Cup, has yet to win on the PGA Tour and failed to qualify for the Tour Championship. Morikawa and Fowler are Ryder Cup veterans who will be competing at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Then there is Keegan Bradley, who sits in 11th place in the U.S. standings and won the Travelers Championship in June. Another former Ryder Cup player, Bradley is being offered at 2/1 by SportsBetting.ag.
And what about two-time Ryder Cup player Justin Thomas? Twice the top-ranked player in the world, Thomas has struggled in 2023 and failed to even make the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career. However, given his track record, Thomas still has 1/2 odds by the book to be selected by his good friend Johnson.
Sam Burns, a five-time PGA Tour winner who is 12th in the standings, has 3/2 odds to make the team.
The most interesting dilemma for Johnson outside of Koepka may be Lucas Glover. The 43-year-old has never played in the Ryder Cup and is 16th in the U.S. standings, but he did win the Wyndham Championship to make the playoffs and then backed it up with a victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Glover is currently being offered at 7/2 by the book along with Tony Finau, another previous Ryder Cup player who will be in East Lake this week. However, Finau has not been in strong form this summer, with a T7 at the 3M Open his only top-20 finish in his past 10 starts.
With such a deep pool of candidates to select from, Koepka’s chances of making a fourth Ryder Cup team will likely come down to Johnson’s stance on LIV Golf players. He has previously said they are “technically” eligible for the team as PGA of America members, but that it would also be “irresponsible” of him to comment on whether LIV players will be considered for the team because he does not regularly see them compete.
Koepka’s only qualifying points were earned at the four major championships. He rocketed to No. 2 in the U.S. standings following his third PGA Championship triumph, but then tied for 17th at the U.S. Open and 64th at The Open Championship.
Koepka got to chat with Johnson about the Ryder Cup during a practice round at Royal Liverpool last month.
“We got to talk about it a little bit, just what’s going on, I guess how the team is shaping up,” Koepka said afterward. “It’s kind of interesting.
“Yeah, it was just hearing his perspective and all the stuff he’s got to do. The PGA of America does a really good job in easing it for him, and just kind of talking about the preparation for it, what our team is going to do, where are we going to be, and just a little bit more about the shuffle of guys and the stuff they have kind of behind the scenes, stats, stuff like that. It’s quite interesting just hearing about it all.”
—Field Level Media