Ryder Cup: U.S. Names Finau, Schauffele Among Six Captain’s Picks

The six rookies in the event — Morikawa, Cantlay, English, Schauffele, Berger and Scheffler — are the most for a U.S. squad since 2008, when the team was victorious at the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.The European team is the defending champion after a commanding victory in 2018 in France. Its captain, Padraig Harrington, will announce his picks on Sunday. Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have qualified automatically for the European team. Overall, the United States has a commanding 26-14 lead in the Ryder Cup, which dates to 1927, although Europe has won nine of the last 12 competitions.The omission of Reed, 31, from the American team was the biggest surprise. Reed has a 7-3-2 record in the matches and has won each of his three final day singles contests. But after the 2018 loss in France, Reed also criticized the American team as “a buddy system” that led to Reed not being partnered with Spieth as he had in two previous Ryder Cups. Together, Reed and Spieth had an impressive 4-1-2 record. In 2018, Spieth played with Thomas, his childhood friend, and the duo had a 3-1 record.Stricker, however, said uncertainty about Reed’s health had been the overriding reason he was left off this year’s team. Last month, Reed was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia. He returned to the golf course for the first time since the illness last week at the season-ending Tour Championship and ended up 25th out of 29 finishers. Stricker said he called Reed, who is ranked 19th in the men’s world rankings, first as he began notifying players of his final six selections to the team.“I apologized many times to him,” Stricker said, “and made sure he knew it was a hard decision. He was disappointed but handled it like a champion. He said all the right things.”Reed may yet get a chance to join the team because Koepka injured his wrist and withdrew from last week’s Tour Championship. Stricker conceded on Wednesday that he has had discussions with his vice captains, Mickelson and Fred Couples, about who might be the right substitute if Koepka is unable to compete.“But we’ll deal with that situation if it were to happen,” Stricker said.Scheffler’s addition to the team was perhaps the one selection that raised eyebrows in the golf community since Scheffler is still chasing his first PGA Tour victory and was ranked 14th in the American Ryder Cup standings, the lowest of any American golfer on the team. But he has finished in the top 10 in the past three major championships and Stricker mentioned that he was second in this year’s world golf championship match play event.

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