After the PGA Tour closed the books of a historic season on and off the course Sunday, another daytime drama will unfold in the next 24 hours: Who will make the U.S. Ryder Cup team?
Or, more to the point, will the PGA of America, which oversees the Ryder Cup, bypass reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka because of his status as a LIV Golf member?
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson will complete his team with six at-large selections Tuesday. The ceremony will be televised at 10 a.m. EDT on Golf Channel. The captain’s picks will join Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele, who ranked 1-6, respectively, in the Ryder Cup standings, for the 44th biennial match September 29-October 1 at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy.
Koepka, who won this year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill for his fifth major title, slipped to seventh in the Ryder Cup standings after his LIV Golf status barred him from PGA Tour-run events and limited his chances for Official World Golf Ranking points. He has compiled a 6-5-1 record in three Ryder Cups, including the Americans’ victorious 2016 and 2021 editions.
If he is not picked, Koepka would be the second consecutive reigning PGA champion not to play on that year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team, after Phil Mickelson, who served as an assistant captain in 2021.
Scheffler said Koepka deserves a spot.
“If he played one tournament on tour, I think he probably would have been on the team,” Scheffler said.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee contends that Koepka would be “bad for the team,” adding: “In making this team more cohesive, being on point, and pointing in the right direction, Brooks Koepka missing this team would be good for this team.”
Brian Harman, who locked up his team debut with a victory in the recent Open Championship, wants only for the U.S. to end its 30-year losing streak overseas in the biennial match.
“The goal of the Ryder Cup is to win,” Harman said, “so whoever Zach thinks that can help us win the Ryder Cup I think needs to be on the team.”
If Koepka were to get the nod, he could bump Justin Thomas, who has struggled this season and failed to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, or perhaps Lucas Glover, Keegan Bradley or Tony Finau, all two-time winners in the 2022-23 season.
We’ll know early Tuesday.
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Compiled by Steve Harmon