ROCHESTER, NEW YORK | Brooks Koepka may have done more than win the PGA Championship on Sunday at Oak Hill.
He may have played his way onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will go to Rome in September, trying to win on foreign soil for the first time in three decades.
Though Koepka left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, he and others retained their PGA of America memberships, making them eligible for the Ryder Cup. With his victory at Oak Hill, Koepka is projected to move to second on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, which will determine six automatic qualifiers later this summer.
Asked before the PGA Championship whether he would like to play for captain Zach Johnson’s team, Koepka left no doubt.
“If I handle my business out here, everything will take care of itself. If you win, go second, first, first, first, it would be kind of tough not to pick, right?” Koepka said. “If you go handle business, I feel like I should be fine. But it's not up to me. It's up to Zach and what goes on. I just play my best and see what happens from there, but I would love to play for him.”
While Johnson and PGA of America officials have not made clear how they will treat LIV members as potential Ryder Cup team members, it would seem unlikely that Koepka would be denied if he were an automatic qualifier.
Johnson brushed off questions about whether he would consider LIV golfers, including Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau when asked about it before the PGA Championship.
“It’s not even a discussion item,” Johnson said. “It’s not on my radar right now.”
Because they are not PGA Tour members, LIV golfers can accumulate Ryder Cup points only through their play at the major championships. Koepka has finished tied for second and first in his two major appearances this season.
Here is another wrinkle:
At this moment, it looks fairly easy to name 10 players who will represent the U.S. in Rome, whether as automatic qualifiers or captain’s picks. They are Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau.
That leaves two spots.
Wyndham Clark, Kurt Kitayama, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Sahith Theegala, Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler are among those players with the most Ryder Cup points outside the top 10 at the moment (excluding the injured Will Zalatoris), raising the question of whether Zach Johnson might use one or two picks on LIV players.
“I’d love to be part of it,” said Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0 in the American romp at Whistling Straits in 2021.
Ron Green Jr.