U.S. captain Zach Johnson opted for experience more than a hot hand, calling it “a pretty easy pick” last week in selecting Justin Thomas as one of six at-large selections to complete the Ryder Cup team and seek to reverse a troubling trend for the Americans overseas.
Thomas, who played inconsistently all season and missed five cuts in his final eight starts, failed to qualify for the PGA Tour’s playoffs and ranked 15th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. However, the two-time PGA Championship winner owns a 6-2-1 record in two Ryder Cups and stands out as “our emotional leader,” Johnson said.
“He has without question been the heart and soul of Team USA,” Johnson said. “In my mind, he was born for this. You just don’t leave JT at home.”
“I did put a lot of pressure on myself to make this team, but I feel it was a valuable learning experience that I will use going forward. You can want something too bad.”
Thomas joined Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Rickie Fowler as the captain’s picks for the September 29-October 1 match at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy. Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele ranked Nos. 1-6, respectively, in making the team on merit.
The U.S. has not won the biennial series overseas in 30 years, dating to a 1993 victory at The Belfry in England. Europe has won six in a row at home and claimed nine of the past 13 matches to trim the Americans’ series lead to 27-14-2. Since continental Europe was added to the Great Britain and Ireland team for the 1979 match, Europe holds an 11-9-1 edge.
“I did put a lot of pressure on myself to make this team, but I feel it was a valuable learning experience that I will use going forward,” said Thomas, 30, a 15-time winner on tour. “You can want something too bad.”
Foremost among the Americans who will be left at home: Cameron Young, who ranked ninth in the points standings; Keegan Bradley, who ranked 11th and won twice this year; Denny McCarthy, a non-winner who ranked 14th but is one of the best putters on tour; Lucas Glover, who built late-season momentum with two summertime victories and ranked 16th; and No. 21 Tony Finau, a two-time winner in 2022-23 who has played on the past two Ryder Cup and past two Presidents Cup teams.
European captain Luke Donald will complete his team today with six at-large selections. READ MORE
Michael Wade, Icon Sportswire/getty images
An elite global golf tour featuring 18 tournaments spanning the PGA, DP World and LIV tours is being developed for 2025 as part of the proposed deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, according to a report by Matt Hughes in London’s Daily Mail.
The tours, which are negotiating after a historic framework agreement three months ago ended the string of lawsuits and countersuits in the wake of LIV Golf’s debut in 2022, would continue to operate independently.
The proposed series, which would be in addition to the four major championships, would be restricted to the game’s top players, the Daily Mail reported, citing sources close to the negotiations. READ MORE
Gary Woodland will undergo surgery in two weeks to remove a brain lesion, he disclosed on social media. Woodland, 39, is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2019 U.S. Open. He made 18 cuts in 24 starts in the 2022-23 season and ranks No. 73 in the world. Woodland offered no timetable for his return. His moment with Special Olympian Amy Bockerstette during a practice round at the 2019 WM Phoenix Open created one of the game’s most memorable feel-good stories. READ MORE
CBS Sports reported record viewership for its 42 PGA Tour telecasts in the 2022-23 season, averaging 2.206 million viewers across its platforms, a 1-percent increase from a year earlier. The final round of the season-ending Tour Championship, won by Viktor Hovland, averaged 4.613 million viewers. It was the largest audience to see the Tour Championship since 2018, when 5.51 million watched Tiger Woods win. READ MORE
The Masters, which was won by Spaniard Jon Rahm, ranked as the top tournament on the PGA Tour in social-media engagements for the 2022-23 season, according to rankings compiled by analytics company Zoomph. None of the other major championships ranked higher than seventh. READ MORE
A lawsuit filed by a Utah businessman who financially supported Tony Finau early in the future PGA Tour winner’s career is headed to trial after claims by both sides for summary judgment were dismissed, Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reported. Another unrelated lawsuit dismissed in 2021 has been partially reinstated by an appellate court. Both plaintiffs are seeking repayment of loans and a percentage of Finau’s career earnings. Finau, 33, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour, has earned nearly $37.4 million in prize money since joining the tour in 2015. READ MORE
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has bankrolled LIV Golf and is negotiating with the PGA Tour for a commercial deal, has enlisted one of Washington’s most influential lobbying firms to maneuver around congressional scrutiny, Politico reported. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has sought testimony from PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who has cited the fund’s sovereign immunity in declining to appear. READ MORE
With four Solheim Cup rookies having qualified for her American team, captain Stacy Lewis favored experience when making her at-large selections.
Lewis picked two-time Solheim Cup participants Ally Ewing and Angel Yin plus rookie Cheyenne Knight on Aug. 28 to complete her 12-woman U.S. squad. They joined automatic qualifiers Lilia Vu, Nelly Korda, Allisen Corpuz, Megan Khang, Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee, who earned their spots via the U.S. Solheim Cup team standings. Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang qualified via the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Vu, Corpuz, Lee and Zhang are Solheim Cup rookies.
Captain Suzann Pettersen finalized the European team one week earlier with four at-large selections.
The 18th Solheim Cup will be played September 22-24 at Finca Cortesín in Casares, Spain. Although Europe has won the past two matches and four of the most recent six, the U.S. leads the biennial series, 10-7. READ MORE / TEAM USA / TEAM EUROPE
The World Golf Hall of Fame closed its doors September 2 after 25 years in St. Augustine, Florida, and will relocate to Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina for an anticipated spring opening at the site of its original home. As Ward Clayton wrote for The First Call, the move was a long time coming. Golfweek’s Adam Schupak, who helped open the shrine 25 years ago in Florida, shared his memories upon visiting on the last day. READ MORE and MORE
David Ford and Rachel Kuehn were named to the U.S. men’s and women’s teams, respectively, for the World Amateur Team Championships this fall in the United Arab Emirates. Ford, 20, of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, joins U.S. Amateur winner Nick Dunlap, 19, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and world No. 1 Gordon Sargent, 20, of Birmingham, Alabama – all recent Walker Cup participants – in completing the men’s team. Kuehn, 22, of Asheville, North Carolina, joins Anna Davis, 17, of Spring Valley, California, and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Megan Schofill, 22, of Monticello, Florida, in finalizing the women’s team. The annual WATC men’s and women’s events are set for October 18-21 and October 25-28, respectively, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. READ MORE
The USGA, which recently held its Senior Women’s Open in Portland, Oregon, announced plans to return to the Rose City for two national championships in the coming years. Portland Golf Club will host the 2026 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and the 2034 U.S. Senior Amateur. READ MORE
The Champions Tour will play for the first time in Arkansas next year when the Simmons Bank Championship is held at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. The tournament is set for October 25-27. Little Rock-based Simmons Bank also sponsors a Korn Ferry Tour event in Nashville, Tennessee. The complete schedule for the 50-and-older tour is expected to be released this fall. READ MORE
Compiled by Steve Harmon