RYDER CUP ’21: a capsule look at the American team

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer

A preview of the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup matches September 24-26 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Ranked in order of qualification for the team:

COLLIN MORIKAWA

Age: 24 years old.

World Ranking: 3.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: 5.

Victories 2021: WGC-Workday Championship, British Open.

Major: PGA Championship (2020), British Open (2021).

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup Moment: Top of the U.S. Rankings in its first year of eligibility.

Backspin: His form has plunged into the PGA Tour playoffs for the second year in a row, but the intensity of the Ryder Cup should grab his attention. He imagines himself to be a rock in a quartet with his repeatable swing. The most watched area of ​​his game is his putting.

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 37 years old.

World Ranking: 2.

Ryder Cup record: 7-9-0.

Career wins: 25.

Victories 2021: Saudi International.

Major: US Open (2016), Masters (2020).

Ryder Cup Partners: Phil Mickelson (0-2-0), Jim Furyk (0-1-0), Matt Kuchar (3-1-0), Brooks Koepka (0-2-0), Rickie Fowler (1 -2 -0).

Ryder Cup moment: Hitting a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th at Medinah in a four-ball win on Saturday afternoon. It is believed to be his biggest fist pump ever.

Backspin: He is still considered the most talented American, but finding him a partner has been a challenge in the Ryder Cup. Johnson and Whistling Straits will bring up memories of his club touching sand that turned out to be a bunker, which cost him a place in the 2010 PGA Championship playoffs.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU

Age: 28 years old.

World Ranking: 7.

Ryder Cup record: 0-3-0.

Career wins: 9.

Victories 2021: Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Major: US Open (2020).

Ryder Cup Partners: Phil Mickelson (0-1-0), Tiger Woods (0-1-0).

Ryder Cup Moment: Being selected for their first Ryder Cup and having Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as partners. They lost both matches.

Backspin: His length should be a good fit for Whistling Strait, especially par 4 courts where he can go get the green. His thin skin has been a problem, although he probably won’t have to worry about it in front of a pro-American gallery.

BROOKS KOEPKA

Age: 31.

World Ranking: 9.

Ryder Cup record: 4-3-1.

Career wins: 11.

Victories 2021: Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Major: US Open (2017, 2018), PGA Championship (2018, 2019).

Ryder Cup Partners: Brandt Snedeker (2-0-0), Dustin Johnson (0-2-0), Tony Finau (1-1-0)

Ryder Cup moment: Won three games in his 2016 debut at Hazeltine, none going beyond the 16th hole.

Backspin: He again injured his left wrist after touching a tree root under the grass in East Lake, forcing him to retire from the remainder of the Tour Championship and raising questions about his health for the Ryder Cup.

JUSTIN THOMAS

Age: 28 years old.

World Ranking: 6.

Ryder Cup record: 4-1-0.

Career wins: 14.

Victories 2021: Players’ Championship.

Major: PGA Championship (2017).

Ryder Cup Partners: Jordan Spieth (3-1-0).

Ryder Cup Moment: Drilling his drive down the middle of the 18th fairway in Paris that led to a 1-game win over Rory McIlroy in 2018 singles.

Backspin: He made an impressive debut in 2018 going 3-1 and teaming up with longtime friend Jordan Spieth. He was frustrated with his putting for most of the year.

PATRICK CANTLAY

Age: 29.

World Ranking: 4.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: 5.

Victories 2021: Memorial, BMW Championship, Tour Championship.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup Moment: Win the Tour Championship to get the last automatic spot on the squad.

Backspin: Making his Ryder Cup debut and is already considered a feared opponent due to his clutch kick last month and having no apparent weaknesses in his game. the Presidents Cup.

TONY FINAU

Age: 32 years old.

World ranking: 10.

Ryder Cup record: 2-1-0.

Career wins: 2.

Victories 2021: The Northern Trust.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: Brooks Koepka (1-1-0).

Ryder Cup moment: His 8 iron smashed against the wooden board framing the water at the 16th hole, soaring through the air and landing 3 feet away for a birdie to play in the Ryder’s opener Cup 2018.

Backspin: He made a solid start in 2018 going 2-1-0 and handing over Tommy Fleetwood is just the loss of the week. Finau thinks he has even more confidence after his playoff victory in The Northern Trust. Not winning had been a burden.

ALEX SCHAUFFELE

Age: 27 years old.

World Ranking: 5.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: 5.

Victories 2021: Olympic Games.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup moment: Being left out of the 2018 squad as Jim Furyk used his captain choice on Tony Finau.

Backspin: One of the most complete players on Team USA whose strength is bouncing off bad holes. He already has a victory this year playing for the flag, winning the gold medal at the Olympics.

JORDAN SPIETH

Age: 28 years old.

World Ranking: 14.

Ryder Cup record: 7-5-2.

Career wins: 15.

Victories 2021: Valero Texas Open.

Major: Masters (2015), US Open (2015), British Open (2017).

Ryder Cup Partners: Patrick Reed (4-1-2), Justin Thomas (3-1-0).

Ryder Cup Moment: Lost just two of the 11 tag team matches he played, but still haven’t won a singles match.

Backspin: He missed the Presidents Cup in 2019 and didn’t expect to be on this team earlier this year until he rediscovered his game and his touch. He was Jason Day’s finalist at Whistling Straits in the 2015 PGA Championship.

ENGLISH HARRIS

Age: 32 years old.

World Ranking: 11.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: 4.

Victories 2021: Sentry Tournament of Champions, Travelers Championship.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup moment: Fighting for a spot on the 2014 squad, then playing their last seven tournaments without finishing in the top 30.

Backspin: Good length off the tee, good touch around the green and easily the nicest character on the American team. He is the oldest of six rookies at 32 and one of only three Americans to have multiple victories this year on the PGA Tour.

DANIEL BERGER

Age: 28 years old.

World ranking: 16.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: 4.

2021 wins: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup Moment: At least there’s talk of a potential pick for the 2016 squad.

Backspin: He showed a lot of emotion and no mercy during the United States’ rout in the Presidents Cup in 2017. Berger’s resurgence began after golf returned from the pandemic. He’s won twice since.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER

Age: 25 years old.

World Ranking: 21.

Ryder Cup Record: Rookie.

Career wins: none.

2021 victories: none.

Major: none.

Ryder Cup Partners: None.

Ryder Cup Moment: Getting what feels like the captain’s sixth and final pick.

Backspin: First player since Rickie Fowler in 2010 to make his Ryder Cup debut as captain’s pick without winning the PGA Tour. His consistent play is the reason he qualified for the last two Masters and the last two Tour championships.


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