Zach Johnson, two decisions are controversial

Since debuting in 2006, the two-time major winner tasted defeat in his first four appearances, but capped off his run with a resounding home win at Hazeltine in 2016

by Andrea Gussoni
Zach Johnson, two decisions are controversial
© Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport

Zach stands for Zach Johnson, the captain. He's been on five US teams as a player, he's a Ryder Cup veteran. Since debuting in 2006, the two-time major winner tasted defeat in his first four appearances, but capped off his run with a resounding home win at Hazeltine in 2016.

47 years old, already vice-captain to Steve Stricker in the triumph at Whistling Straits two years ago, has nominated Stricker himself as one of the five vice-captains. With him Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples and Stewart Cink.

Zach Johnson, decisions

Johnson is tasked with ending three decades of European dominance on the continent. Players automatically qualified: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele
None of them are outside the top 10 players in the world.

Everyone had an excellent season. Especially world number 1 Scheffler – “Mr. Consistency” – who has accumulated more Ryder Cup points than anyone since the start of 2022. The 27-year-old has won six times on the PGA Tour in the aforementioned period with a triumph at the Masters, and has collected 17 top 10s in 23 starts during the Tour's 2022/23 season.

Another memorable year for him. Clark and Harman captured their first career major titles at the US Open and Open Championship, respectively. Captain's Picks: Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas It's impossible for a Ryder Cup captain to avoid the controversy that comes with his decisions, but two of those choices have attracted more attention than others.

1 Brooks Koepka: LIV Golf will have a player in the challenge. Brooks Koepka won his third PGA Championship to capture his fifth career major title. Since LIV Golf players could only accumulate qualifying points through majors, it is a testament to Koepka's extraordinary form that he came within just 29 points of Schauffele's 9450.269 for the sixth and final automatic spot.

For the 33-year-old also a second place at the Masters before the PGA Championship in May and a 17th place at the US Open. With this in mind, selecting Koepka for his fourth time in the Ryder was an “easy choice” for the captain.

“His experience, his temperament, the way he does his job, his passion for the Ryder Cup are the reason,” Zach Johnson said. “Brooks is a locker room guy and he's fantastic inside the ropes. The kids wanted it, I wanted it." 2 Justin Thomas: anything but a good season.

The 15-time winner on the PGA Tour was candid about his grueling search for form after missing the cut in three majors and missing the playoffs. “You don't leave JT at home”. Thomas has impressed in the last two Ryders, with 6 wins, 2 losses and a draw.

“One of the most talented players on the PGA Tour in my opinion,” Zach Johnson said of Thomas. “He was the heart and soul of Team USA, our emotional leader I would say”. “In my mind, he was born for this”.

Cameron Young, Keegan Bradley and Denny McCarthy were not chosen, despite having accumulated more qualifying points than Thomas, who said he felt "very, very lucky" to make his third consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. With Thomas there will be his great friend Spieth, in the team for the fifth consecutive time.

Then Fowler who ends a four-year wait thanks to the victory of his sixth title on the PGA Tour in 2023, the season of his rebirth. Completing the team are Sam Burns (first time) and Morikawa (3 wins and 1 draw on his debut two years ago).

Zach Johnson