No surprises as Davis Love III finalizes U.S. Presidents Cup team with captain's picks

·4 min read

U.S. Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III finalized his team Wednesday by adding major champions, FedExCup winners and one of the game’s most successful match-play competitors.

With the biennial matches now just two weeks away, Love announced that Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Cameron Young and Kevin Kisner would round out the American side.

“I’m excited about this 12 and ready to get going,” Love said.

There was nary a surprise in that group, especially after Will Zalatoris announced last month that he’d miss the upcoming cup because of a back injury. Spieth has made all but one U.S. team since debuting in 2013, while Morikawa was unbeaten in his lone appearance last fall at the Ryder Cup. Homa, a two-time winner last season, Horschel, who won at Memorial, and Young, the presumptive Rookie of the Year, each will be making their debuts in U.S. team competition.

Those players were ranked Nos. 8-12 in the points standings.

International captain Trevor Immelman names 5 rookies to Presidents Cup team

The only remaining drama was how Love would round out his squad. He opted for the 15th-ranked Kisner, whose lone team appearance came at the 2017 Presidents Cup, where he successfully teamed with Phil Mickelson and went 2-0-2 in what was another emphatic victory for the Americans. Kisner was also the 54-hole leader at the 2017 PGA at Quail Hollow.

Kisner, 38, is a four-time Tour winner, but he might perhaps be best known for his prowess in match play. One of the Tour’s best putters, he boasts a career singles record of 22-7-2 and has reached the finals of the WGC-Dell Match Play three of the past four years, losing in the championship match this past spring to world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. Kisner won the event in 2019.

Though Kisner is ranked 26th in the world, he has struggled for much of the summer, finishing better than 20th just once in his past 12 starts. He finished the FedExCup season at No. 39 in the standings and failed to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.

“Kevin adds some veteran leadership, a guy in the team room that everybody loves having around,” Love said, “and he’s really, really easy to pair.”

Those six picks join the six U.S. team qualifiers: Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.

By selecting Kisner, Love bypassed J.T. Poston, who just completed a career season by winning at the John Deere Classic for his second Tour title and qualifying for his first Tour Championship (finished 15th). Standout rookie Sahith Theegala, who nearly won at the WM Phoenix Open and Travelers, was also thought to be under consideration.

Love breaks down his Presidents Cup captains picks

The American team wasn’t hit nearly as hard by LIV defections as the Trevor Immelman-led International squad, which last week lost leading points-earner Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann, in addition to prior departures by Louis Oosthuizen, Abe Ancer and Carlos Ortiz.

Still, there was significant turnover from last year’s historic Ryder Cup victory, with five of the 12 U.S. players not a part of this cup team: Daniel Berger and Harris English, both of whom were injured this season, plus new LIV members Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.

Love called the LIV player losses, on both sides, a “big, big distraction” that should disappear once the event begins.

“I have to get these 12 guys that are dying to play for Team USA ready to play, and it will be a great show once Thursday starts,” Love said.

On Tuesday, after announcing his final roster, Immelman called the American squad one of the best ever assembled. They'll continue to be heavy favorites in the event in which they are now 11-1-1 overall.

“This is their 12-man team that has never played together before. So they want to win for this team,” Love said. “So I don’t think we have to do too much messaging or motivation. Certainly you don’t want to be on a losing team, ever.

“And we know we are up against it. Trevor is going to have a team that’s got a chip on their shoulder and that’s motivated and wants to prove that they can still be competitive. We have to be careful. Certainly these guys are not going to take it lying down.”