Breakdown of Zach Johnson’s Ryder Cup captain’s picks as US team looks to end drought on European soil

US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has made his decision on who will fly to Rome for the Ryder Cup in September as the captain’s choice.

The roster additions feature some surprises and even a LIV entrant as the Americans look to capture their second consecutive Ryder Cup victory.

The United States has won nine of the last 13 events and owns a 27-14-2 record against Europe overall, but has not won on European soil since 1993.

Here’s the captain’s pick for action at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside Rome (September 29-October 1).

Brooks Koepka

After his resurgent 2023 season was capped off with his victory at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in May, Koepka joins Johnson and the rest of the Americans despite the backlash over his ties to the Saudi-funded LIV golf tour.

Despite the debate over whether LIV players should play in the Ryder Cup, the five-time major champion is donning the stars and stripes for his fourth Ryder Cup. He is the only American with a LIV ribbon on the American team.

The No. 14 ranked player in the world golf rankings has a career record of 6-5-1 in his previous Ryder Cup appearances (2016, 2018 and 2021).

Jordan Spieth

Spieth will be competing in his fifth Ryder Cup and brings an 8-7-3 career mark to this year’s clash in Italy.

The 30-year-old hasn’t won a tournament this year, but he’s earned $7.2 million this season (the most he’s earned since 2017, when he won the British Open at Royal Birkdale).

Spieth has two top-3 and seven top-10 finishes on tour this year. His fourth-place finish at the Masters kicked off a competitive season for the veteran.

Collin Morikawa

Morikawa will be playing in his second career Ryder Cup and first as a member of the away team.

The 26-year-old made his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2021, going 3-0-1.

The two-time major champion (2020 PGA Championship and 2021 British Open) also participated in the 2021 President’s Cup.

Rickie Fowler

Fowler is another case of a resurgent golfer being called to one of the biggest stages.

The 34-year-old captured his first victory since 2019 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July.

Fowler does not bring a stellar track record into the biennial event that pits the United States against Europe, as he owns a 3-7-5 record in four previous appearances. His most recent selection came in 2018 when he went 1-3 in matches played on the Albatros Course at Le Golf National outside Paris.

Justin Thomas

Thomas hasn’t had his best season on tour, but his experience (2018, 2020 Ryder Cup) was enough to make him a captain’s pick. He owns a career record of 6-2-1 in the Ryder Cup, including 3-0 in fourballs and 2-0 in singles.

Thomas currently ranks as the 71st golfer in the world in the FedEx Cup standings. The 30-year-old missed the cut in nearly every major this season except for the PGA Championship, where he finished 65th.

Sam Burns

Sam Burns makes his first career Ryder Cup appearance. The 27-year-old is currently the No. 9 ranked golfer in the world with five career wins on tour.

Burns’ most valuable achievement to date was his win at the 2023 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.

With the Ryder Cup format offering some match play, Burns could be a useful asset for the Americans.


The six Ryder Cup captains’ picks will join automatic qualifiers Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay and Max Homa on Johnson’s roster.

For Team Europe, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton already have automatic squad bids with captain Luke Donald naming his selections on Monday 4 September.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top