With the 100th PGA Championship in the books, eight of the 12 spots on U.S. Ryder Cup team have been filled.
The eight to qualify were, in order, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.
The four remaining spots will be made by Captain Jim Furyk early next month. Three will be announced following the Dell Technologies Championship (Sept. 3) – the second playoff event, with the final selection announced after the BMW Championship (Sept. 9).
Koepka finished with the most points, aided by back-to-back wins at the U.S. Open, and capped off by his PGA Championship victory this past weekend at Bellerive. It will be his second Ryder Cup appearance.
D.J., the world No.1, will play in his fourth Ryder Cup. Thomas, who has eight victories in the past two seasons, will make his Ryder Cup debut after clinching a spot on the team with a win at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed will make his third-consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson will play in his fourth Ryder Cup following a three-win 2018 season.
Spieth, winless on the season, will make his third career Ryder Cup team. He won The Open in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
Fowler, also winless on the season, racked up points with three top-five finishes in majors the past two seasons.
Simpson claimed the final automatic qualifying spot thanks in large part to his victory at the PLAYERS. It will be Simpson’s third Ryder Cup.
During a Monday morning press conference at Bellerive Country Club, Captain Furyk met with the media to discuss the early makeup of the team. He ran down the list of eight players, and commented on each.
8. WEBB SIMPSON
“Yeah, I guess going through the list, you know, Webb Simpson, I’m sure had a tough week. It’s always tough to be that No. 8 spot. I’ve been close to that 7 or 8 before.
“It can be a little sleepless, and Webb had a good, solid week, finished 19th in the event. He’s excited. I texted with him last night. You look at a guy here that’s won the PLAYERS Championship, and when I was trying to pick out golf courses on our TOUR that were similar to Le Golf National, TPC at Sawgrass was one of those.
“He was a runaway winner there at the PLAYERS, and I think the golf course really suits his game well.”
World Rank: 20
FedExCup Rank: 12
2018 Wins: 1 (PLAYERS)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2012, 2014, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 4,534.745 (8th)
7. RICKIE FOWLER
“Rickie Fowler, when I think about Rick, you start thinking about strengths and weaknesses in players, and I think Rickie’s biggest strength is he has no weaknesses.
“He’s a very well-rounded player, well liked in the team room. He’s an easy guy for any captain to pair. He can go with a number of different players. He’s a huge asset to the team.”
World Rank: 9
FedExCup Rank: 17
2018 Wins: 0
Ryder Cup Teams: 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 5,006.112 (7th)
6. JORDAN SPIETH
“Jordan Spieth. Jordan is one of those guys that is wise beyond his years. He’s very mature. He’s a leader at a young age. And what I’ve seen from him in the team room is a lot of fun and very interesting.
“He stands up, and when Jordan speaks, everyone listens, and he has something to say, whether that’s kicking everyone in the rear end, whether that’s kind of being the calm in the middle of the storm.
“Jordan’s a leader and something that any captain loves to have on a team.”
World Rank: 8
FedExCup Rank: 40
2018 Wins: 0
Ryder Cup Teams: 2014, 2016, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 5,481.427 (6th)
5. BUBBA WATSON
“Bubba Watson, what a great story. 2016 he was 9th in Ryder Cup points, left off the team, and the first thing he asks Davis Love, ‘Can I be a vice-captain? I know you have an extra spot, and I want to help this team in any way I possibly can.’ I thought it was a touch of class.
“I think he gained a lot of respect from his teammates, and I also know how much game this guy has and came back and won three times this year. I don’t have to deal with any more texts saying, ‘I need an ear piece’.
“He earned a spot on this team and can do so many things with a golf ball. Excited to have Bubba on the team. I know he’s really excited himself.”
World Rank: 14
FedExCup Rank: 5
2018 Wins: 3 (Genesis Open, WGC-Dell MP, Travelers Champ)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 5,584.137 (5th)
4. PATRICK REED
“Patrick Reed, wow, this guy’s been a bulldog. I mean, a bulldog for us in 2014 and 2016. He’s fierce. When you talk about going into a crowd that is going to be loud and boisterous, I feel like the bigger the challenge, the louder the crowd, the more attention you need to pay to Patrick Reed.
“He loves that atmosphere. I guess I’m proud to be the United States captain, but Patrick Reed’s been Captain America for the last two Ryder Cups. So happy to have him.”
World Rank: 12
FedExCup Rank: 9
2018 Wins: 1 (Masters)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2014, 2016, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 7,821.880 (4th)
3. JUSTIN THOMAS
“Justin Thomas, man, got to love this kid — fierce. I kind of chuckle, he’s our Ryder Cup rookie. He’s the only guy I can pick on right now and call him Rook.
“But you know what, PGA champion last year, PGA TOUR Player of the Year. This guy’s got a lot of experience. Loved to watch him in the Presidents Cup last year.
“And more than anything, he’s a great kid, but I love the way this guy plays the game. He plays it the right way and fun to watch.”
World Rank: 3
FedExCup Rank: 2
2018 Wins: 3 (CJ Cup, Honda, WGC-Bridgestone)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 8,929.122 (3rd)
2. DUSTIN JOHNSON
“Dustin Johnson. What more can you say? This guy’s got more talent. Love watching him play the game. But what I really enjoy is Dustin strikes me — I played alongside him as a partner in his first Ryder Cup.
“I’ve been around him in a number of Ryder Cups, both as a player and as a captain. He really loves the team atmosphere. He loves hanging with the guys. He loves being a part of it.
“And when one of your most talented players is a leader in that respect and loves that team atmosphere, it’s a feather in a captain’s cap. So glad to have Dustin.”
World Rank: 1
FedExCup Rank: 1
2018 Wins: 3 (Sentry ToC, FedEx St Jude, RBC Canadian)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2010, 2012, 2016, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 9,549.287 (2nd)
1. BROOKS KOEPKA
“Brooks Koepka, I mean, this guy started out the year injured. So as a captain, I’m scratching my head, and I’m worried, you know, how can you not have Brooks Koepka come to Europe with you?
“You know, I know that his number one goal. He talked to me about making this team, and I know his number one goal this year was to get healthy. Right from the moment that he sat out the Masters, from the moment he got healthy this year, he hit the TOUR running, and it was like he never missed any time.
“So now to think in April I was worried, watching him slide down the Ryder Cup list in the points and worried about his health, you know, I think he fell to 7th or 8th at one time.
“Now he’s won the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Great to have him on the team. Fierce competitor. He carries himself with a swagger that everyone talks about. Love having him on the team.”
World Rank: 2
FedExCup Rank: 3
2018 Wins: 2 (U.S. Open, PGA Championship)
Ryder Cup Teams: 2016, 2018
2018 Ryder Cup Pts: 13,298.472 (1st)
This eight is exciting for any captain. Love having this group, and they bring a lot to the table, and they love to compete. That’s what sticks out to me the most.