2018 Ryder Cup: eight of the 12 Team USA spots confirmed
Brooks Koepka tops US rankings after two major wins - but will Tiger Woods secure a captain’s pick?
The first eight Team USA Ryder Cup players have been confirmed following the conclusion of the US PGA Championship.
The last major of the season acted as the final qualifying event for Team USA, with the top-eight ranked players automatically securing spots for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, from 28 to 30 September.
Following his victory in the US PGA, Brooks Koepka tops the Team USA rankings. He is joined in the Ryder Cup squad by Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.
Four spots - the captain’s picks - remain up for grabs. Team USA captain Jim Furyk will announce three of his picks after the Dell Technologies Championship on 3 September, with the final pick to be made after the BMW Championship on 9 September.
One player in contention for a captain’s pick is Tiger Woods, who is back on form after finishing second behind Koepka at the US PGA. Woods is already one of Furyk’s vice-captains and now hopes to be a player too.
Although Woods failed to automatically qualify for the team, USA Today’s Zak Keefer believes his strong finish at the PGA “was likely all the convincing Furyk needed”.
Of his chances, Woods said: “I’m just very pleased at what I’ve done so far and now to be a part of the Ryder Cup conversation, going from where I’ve come to now in the last year, it’s been pretty cool.”
Team USA are the current Ryder Cup holders, following their 17-11 win over Team Europe at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016.
Team USA Ryder Cup rankings
The following eight players have automatically qualified for Team USA:
- 1. Brooks Koepka 13,298.472 points
- 2. Dustin Johnson 9,549.287
- 3. Justin Thomas 8,929.122
- 4. Patrick Reed 7,821.880
- 5. Bubba Watson 5,584.137
- 6. Jordan Spieth 5,481.427
- 7. Rickie Fowler 5,006.112
- 8. Webb Simpson 4,534.745
Team Europe: how it stands
European captain Thomas Bjorn will know on 2 September how his team will shape up.
The BBC reports that the 12-man team will consist of the top four players from the Team Europe Ryder Cup points list, the four leading players from the world points list, and four of Bjorn’s captain’s picks.
As it stands, Italy’s Francesco Molinari, winner of The Open, currently tops the Team Europe Ryder Cup points list, followed by English trio Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood.
The four players currently in the qualifying spots via the world points list are Spain’s Jon Rahm, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Sweden’s Alex Noren and England’s Ian Poulter.
The points system ends on 2 September after the Made in Denmark tournament in Aarhus, Denmark.