The 2023 Ryder Cup is nearly upon us as Europe and the USA get set to lock horns at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome.
Resptective captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald are in the process of the putting the finishing touches to their 12-man teams.
A handful of big names have already booked their place at the 44th edition of the matches but there still some intruguing selection dilemmas facing both captains.
When are the Ryder Cup teams announced?
Johnson will unveil his full USA team on Monday, 28 August, while Team Europe is due to be announced on a week later on September 4.
Who is on Team Europe?
Along with his appointed vice-captains, Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari, Jose Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn and Nicolas Colsaerts, Donald has some big decisions to make.
However, he can rest easy that the spine of his team is already locked in. Rory McIlroy, John Rahm and Viktor Hovland – all of whom are in the top five in the world – are the three names already confirmed for Team Europe.
The three remaining automatic qualification spots are currently occupied by Robert MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood but this could yet change with just over a week to go until Donald announces his team.
Former US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick and 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry will surely feature as two of Donald’s captain’s picks, leaving four more spots to be filled.
Yannick Paul, Adrian Meronk, Rasmus Hojgaard, Victor Perez, Justin Rose, Seamus Power, Sepp Straka and Padraig Harrington are all in the running.
Ryder Cup legends Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood will be taking no part, with Team Europe opting not to select LIV Golf players.
Who is on Team USA?
As at Whistling Straits two year’s ago, Team USA is already rounding into a formidable outfit.
The six automatic spots in Zach Johnson’s 12-man team are already confirmed with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler, US Open champion Wyndham Clark and Open champion Brian Harman already on the plane.
Joining them are Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Max Homa.
Unlike Europe, the USA have reamined opened to selecting LIV golfers meaning the likes of Brooks Keopka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau reamain in the running for selection.
Johnson has incredible depth to pick from with his captain’s picks. Keopka and DeChambeau join a list of players including Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Young, Justin Thomas, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Sam Burns – all of whom can have excellent cases for selection.
What is Luke Donald saying?
Donald was installed as Europe’s captain after Henrik Stenson’s defection to LIV but the Englishman boasts an impressive Ryder Cup record as a part of four winning teams.
“We’re still carrying that hurt from two years ago and it’s about giving them a clear plan about how we can succeed and why we can succeed. I also want to put them in the right frame of mind and make them believe that once they step on that first tee on Friday that they have a great opportunity to win.
“We’re looking at how can we pair best with the six which are already qualified automatically,” Donald said. “I think there are lots of various factors. I’m very detail-oriented and I like to think things through. If someone asks me a question I’m not going to just blurt an answer back to you straightaway. I like a chance to consume everything and get all of the information that I have and then make the best choice.
“With the six picks, there are a variety of things that I’m looking at-that’s one of the reasons why we did have six-we didn’t want to get into a situation where the nine or ten automatic qualifiers may have played really well six months ago but their form really dipped off since.”
“I think the Ryder Cup for him is super important, to follow in the legacy of some of his heroes. Jose Maria [Olazabal], obviously Seve [Ballesteros], and even Sergio [Garcia]. Those guys have paved their way through and made a big legacy in their history that’s really tied to the Ryder Cup.
“He understands that. He wants to do it individually but he wants to through the Ryder Cup as well. So I think you’ll see a lot of passion.You’ll see him very focused during the week and that will help some of the rookies and some of the guys that maybe who’ve only been there once will see that, will see that passion and he will be a big motivator for the other players because of that.”
What is Zach Johnson saying?
Johnson has a stable of more-established names to select from but that will not make his job any easier.
“It’s going to be hard. There’s an ample stable of American studs that we can pick from,” Johnson said on GOLF’S Subpar podcast. “I firmly believe we can take a number of different tandems and scenarios with us and have a great outcome.
“I don’t need to take the 12 best American players because that’s hard to pinpoint. I need to take the 12 best players that make the best team. That’s going to be on me.”
“I’m going to make a lot of guys happy and I’m going to make some upset. I have been on both ends of that phone call.”
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