The 2023 Ryder Cup is just around the corner as Europe and USA prepare to face off at the Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome.
Respective captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald are putting the finishing touches on their 12-man squads.
A handful of big names have already booked their places for the 44th edition of the matches, but intriguing selection dilemmas still await the two captains.
When are the Ryder Cup teams announced?
Johnson will reveal his full US team on Monday, August 28, while the Europe team is expected to be announced a week later on September 4.
Who is part of the European team?
With his appointed vice-captains, Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari, Jose Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn and Nicolas Colsaerts, Donald has big decisions to make.
However, he can rest easy: the backbone of his team is already in place. Rory McIlroy, John Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton and Viktor Hovland – all of whom are in the world’s top five – are the three names already confirmed for Team Europe. .
The three remaining automatic qualification places are currently occupied by Robert MacIntyre and Tommy Fleetwood ahead of the Omega European Masters, the final event for which Ryder Cup points are available.
Former US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick and 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry will surely be among Donald’s captain’s picks, leaving four more spots up for grabs.
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 not take part, as Team Europe opted not to select the players from LIV Golf.
Who is part of the American team?
Like at Whistling Straits two years ago, Team USA is already a formidable team.
The automatic six spots in Zach Johnson’s 12-man squad are already confirmed with world number 1 Scottie Scheffler, US Open champion Wyndham Clark and Open champion Brian Harman already on the plane.
Alongside them are Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Max Homa.
Unlike Europe, the United States remained open to LIV golfer selection, meaning Brooks Keopka, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau remain in the running for selection.
Johnson has incredible depth to choose 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 may have excellent selection records.
As reported by Telegraph Sport, Thomas and Koepka are expected to be two of Johnson’s picks with both men fully endorsed by the dressing room.
What does Luke Donald say?
Donald was named Europe captain after Henrik Stenson defected to LIV, but the Englishman boasts an impressive Ryder Cup record with four winning teams.
“We’re still carrying that injury from two years ago and it’s about giving them a clear plan of 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 hit the first tee on Friday they will have a great opportunity to win.
“We are looking at how can we best partner with the six who are already qualified automatically,” said Donald. “I think there are a lot of different factors. I am very detail-oriented and like to think things through. If someone asks me a question, I will not answer you immediately. I like having the ability to consume everything and get all the information I have and then make the best choice.
“With the six picks, there’s a variety of things that I look at – that’s one of the reasons we got six – we didn’t want to end up in a situation where the nine or ten automatic qualifiers could have played. very well six months ago, but their form has really gone down since then.
“I think the Ryder Cup is very important to him, to follow the legacy of some of his heroes. José Maria (Olazabal), obviously Seve (Ballesteros), and even Sergio (Garcia). These guys paved the way and left a great legacy in their history that is truly tied to the Ryder Cup.
“He understands that. He wants to do it individually but he also wants to do it through the Ryder Cup. 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 who maybe have only been there once will see that, see that passion and he’ll be a big motivator for others players because of it.
What does Zach Johnson say?
Johnson has a stable of more established names to choose from, but that won’t make his job any easier.
“It’s going to be hard. There is a vast stable of American stallions that we can choose from,” Johnson said on the GOLF’S Subpar podcast. “I strongly believe that we can take a number of different tandems and scenarios and get a great result.
“I don’t need to take the top 12 American players because it’s hard to pin down. I have to take the best 12 players who form the best team. It’s gonna be my fault.
“I’m going to make a lot of guys happy and I’m going to surprise some of them. I was on both ends of that phone call.