Steve Stricker Captains Picks Ryder Cup 2021
Photo: Golfweek - USA Today

U.S. Captain Steve Stricker unveiled the team of Americans who will take the course at Ryder Cup on Wednesday. This year’s tournament will begins Sept. 24 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Six of the 12 roster spots already had been filled by players who have qualified automatically via points accumulated at the sport’s biggest tournaments. Stricker himself selected the other six.

Team USA’s six rookies for the Ryder Cup 2021:

  • Collin Morikawa
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Harris English
  • Daniel Berger
  • Scottie Scheffler

are its most since 2008, when six newcomers helped the Americans to a victory at Valhalla.

Steve Stricker noted that U.S. rookies have a 40-29-17 record at Ryder Cups since 2008. Here’s a look at the roster.

Automatic qualifiers:

The top six players in the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings qualified automatically for the team. The standings were determined by prize money won at tournaments since 2019. This year’s top six:

1. Collin Morikawa

The 24-year-old will make his Ryder Cup debut after two wins this season, one of them the British Open (his second major victory). Morikawa was slowed a bit by a post-Olympics back injury late in the season, however.

2. Dustin Johnson

Johnson struggled to replicate his astounding 2020 season that saw him win his first Masters title, among other high points. But he still had nine top 10s, with four of them coming in his final six tournaments.

3. Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau, theGolf’s most polarizing player hasn’t won since March and went 0-3 at the last Ryder Cup. His ongoing feud with U.S. teammate Brooks Koepka will be a much-discussed storyline.

4. Brooks Koepka

The four-time major winner labored through injuries in 2021 but still won at the Phoenix Open and finished no worse than a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and British Open. However, Koepka withdrew from the Tour Championship on Saturday with a wrist injury after hitting a tree root on a shot, and Stricker said Wednesday that they have talked about possibly needing to replace him but “we’re not there yet.”

5. Justin Thomas

Thomas, who won the Players Championship this year, went 4-1 at his first Ryder Cup in 2018, one of the few bright spots for the Americans in a humiliating loss.

6. Patrick Cantlay

Cantlay comes in red hot, having won the final two playoff events of the year to capture the FedEx Cup.

Read More: Ryder Cup 2021 Players List: Who is on the Team USA and Europe?

Steve Stricker’s choices:

Steve Stricker chose the following six players to fill out the roster:

1. Tony Finau

Tony Finau won the first tournament of the PGA Tour’s three-leg playoff and finished no worse than a tie for 15th in the other two. He also went 2-1 at the previous Ryder Cup, demolishing Tommy Fleetwood in singles after the Englishman had gone 4-0-0 in four-ball and foursomes match.

2. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele added an Olympic gold medal to his trophy case this year and finished with a 64 on Sunday at the Tour Championship. He tied for third at the Masters and tied for seventh at the U.S. Open. Schauffele has never played in the Ryder Cup — he did go 3-2 at the Presidents Cup in 2019 — but he always seems to be near the top of the leader board on the biggest stages.

3. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth bounced back this season after a few years in the wilderness, winning his first tournament since 2017, tying for third at the Masters, and finishing two shots behind Morikawa at the British Open. He has never won a singles match in three previous Ryder Cup appearances but is 7-2-2 playing with a partner. Spieth also paired with Stricker at the 2013 Presidents Cup, going 2-1, and finished second at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

“When you think about American golf, it starts with Jordan Spieth,” Stricker said. “We’re excited to see him playing well again, excited to see his game headed in the right direction. … We partnered together. I know what he brings to the table.”

4. Harris English

Harris English has never played in the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, but he won both of his singles matches at the 2011 Walker Cup, the amateur competition between the United States and players from Britain and Ireland. English hasn’t missed a cut since April, finished third at the U.S. Open, and won two other tournaments, both of them in a playoff.

5. Daniel Berger

Daniel Berger played for Stricker on the 2017 Presidents Cup team and went 2-1 with a singles win. He won at Pebble Beach in February, carded top-10s at two of the four majors, and improved his score in each round of the Tour Championship, capping it off with a 64 on Sunday.

6. Scottie Scheffler

The only thing missing from Scottie Scheffler’s résumé is a PGA Tour victory: The 25-year-old, who ranked No. 14, has eight top-10s this year, including a loss to Billy Horschel in the WGC Match Play final. Three of those top-10s came in the final three majors of the season. Scheffler also has extensive match-play experience from his time as an amateur.

Read More: Australian Open Golf and PGA Championship 2021 postponed until 2022

Left out:

The following players were considered candidates for the team but not selected by Steve Stricker:

1. Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed had an interesting case. Captain America has gone 7-3-2 in three Ryder Cups, with a 3-0 singles record, but he also missed the first two playoff events this season with bilateral pneumonia and then wasn’t a factor at the Tour Championship. Reed also hasn’t finished better than a tie for 19th since the Memorial in June.

“That was a very, very difficult call. I kind of lost sleep over that one,” Stricker said. “He’s a tremendous competitor. He brings a lot to match-play golf. His record here at the Ryder Cup is pretty darn good. So it was a very difficult call. … But I think it was the uncertainty, really, of his health and really the lack of play that led to our decision down the stretch.”

2. Kevin Na

Kevin Na made a loud case for Ryder Cup inclusion at the Tour Championship. He finished third despite starting the tournament eight shots back based on its starting-strokes format, with just one bogey for the entire 72 holes (a tournament record). Na won the Sony Open in January and has finished second or third at three of his past six tournaments.

3. Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner sat one spot ahead of Na in the Ryder Cup points standings (18th) and, like Berger, played well for Stricker at the 2017 Presidents Cup (2-0-2). He also won the 2019 WGC Match Play event, which is nothing but singles matches. But there were worries that the short-driving Kisner would struggle at the brutally long Whistling Straits.

Steve Stricker unveiled the team of Americans who will take the course on Wednesday. Read this article for the Captain’s Picks for the Ryder Cup 2021.

Source: The Washington Post

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