LIV golf star and five-time major champion Brooks Koepka has the right temperament to perform under pressure. But the big reason Koepka got the nod for America’s Ryder Cup team was because the rest of the team wanted him as their teammate.
“He has an unprecedented passion for the Ryder Cup and is a good team player, who fuels the rest of the players in the dressing room and between the ropes on the court.
“Koepka’s experience is worth its weight in gold and he has the right temperament to perform when under pressure.
“It was an easy decision to choose him. All the players wanted him as their teammate,” the Yanks’ captain, Zach Johnson, said on Tuesday during the Americans’ team announcement.
Koepka is the only LIV player to make the team and his inclusion was in the balance until the end as the LIV Rebels were suspended by the US PGA Series.
However, the Ryder Cup is hosted by the American Professional Players Association in consultation with the DP World Series.
As a result, LIV players could be considered for the US team.
This year’s Ryder Cup tournament will be decided from September 29 to October 1 at the Marco Simone Club in Rome, Italy.
Europe’s captain, Luke Donald, still has about a week to think before he will announce his twelve-man squad for the prestigious biennial team tournament on September 4.
The American team is the defending champion, but the Yanks last won on European soil in 30 years.
Johnson had six captain’s picks after six players qualified directly on the basis of a standings list.
The six who automatically qualified based on their performances on the court over the past 18 months are Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele.
The five other players approached by Johnson along with Koepka are Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Collin Morikawa and Sam Burns.
Thomas’ inclusion was in the balance as the double major champion had his worst season on the golf course this year.
However, Thomas and Spieth’s Ryder Cup performance lists as a team are impressive and played a role in both of their inclusions.
“JT (Thomas) is one of the most talented players in the game. He is also one of the team’s leaders and his and Jordan’s performances together as a team are excellent.
“They perform when it matters,” Johnson said of Thomas and Spieth’s inclusion.
Two players who will feel unfortunate for not getting the green light are last year’s rookie of the year Cameron Young and Lucas Glover who won two of the three FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.
But then, there is only room for 12 players in each team, so there will always be unlucky ones who just don’t make it.
America aims for Solheim Cup again
America has chosen five newcomers, including two new major golf champions, to try to win the Solheim Cup next month for the first time in six years.
The Yanks’ captain, Stacy Lewis, announced her three captain choices this week and it was no surprise when she read out the names of Ally Ewing, Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin.
The trio narrowly missed out on direct qualification, but Lewis rewarded their good play throughout the year with the green light for their participation in Spain.
This year’s Solheim Cup battle, the counterpart of the men’s Ryder Cup, will be decided from August 22 to 24 at the Finca Cortesin Club in Andalusia.
The Europeans are the defending champions after settling with the Yanks 15-13 in Toledo, Ohio in 2021.
This surprising victory followed Europe’s nail-biting victory of 14.5 – 13.5 in 2019 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
This is Ewing and Yin’s third appearance in the prestigious biennial Solheim Cup tournament.
However, Knight is a newcomer to the American team and will get their first taste of international team golf together with Andrea Lee and Rose Zhang, as well as the two major champions Lilia Vu and Allisen Corpuz.
The rest of Lewis’ team members are all seasoned players.
They are Lexi Thompson, who represents the Yanks for the sixth time, Danielle Kang, who will be in action for the fourth time, Meghan Kang and Nelly Korda, who will try to taste success for the third time, and Jennifer Kupcho, who in 2021 will be the first times represented her native country.
America is 10-7 overall in wins since the tournament’s inception in 1990.
The European team, which will try to achieve an eighth overall and third consecutive victory, is led by the Swede Suzann Petterson.
Last week she included her compatriots Madelene Sagstrom and Caroline Hedwall, as well as the Scot Gemma Dryburgh as captain choices in her team.
Hedwall’s choice provoked a wave of criticism because she is experiencing a poor year on the golf course this year. She was only able to finish in the top ten in one tournament in America.
However, Petterson presented Hedwall’s indisputable experience of four Solheim Cup tournaments as a reason for her inclusion and said she trusts that Hedwall can fuel the team to success.
The rest of Europe’s team consists of the new major champion Celine Boutier, LPGA tournament winners Maja Stark, Charley Hull, Linn Grant, Georgia Hall, Charlotte Ciganda, Anna Nordqvist and Leona Maguire, as well as the star of the European women’s series Emily Kristine Pedersen.
Despite Hedwall’s choice, the European twelve is a formidable team, which is probably stronger this year than the two teams that reigned supreme in 2019 and 2021.
The “home court advantage” that Spain offers to the Europeans, coupled with the fact that the American trump cards of Thompson and Kang are badly off, may be just one too many hurdles for the Yanks in their pursuit of victory after a long win drought .