Ryder Cup capsules: Meet the U.S. team

Ryder Cup capsules: Meet the U.S. team

The United States Ryder Cup team features six of the top 10 golfers in the world and none rank lower than 25th in the OWGR. They will look to utilize that depth of talent to retain the cup that was claimed in 2021 at Whistling Straits.

The U.S. is 27-14-2 in cup history, but just 3-7-0 since Y2K. You have to go back to 1993 to find the last time the Americans won when playing across the pond. The 44th edition will be contested Sept. 29 - Oct.1 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy. Here is a closer look at the home team with videos detailing each player's pertinent information and Ryder Cup credentials (click here for European team capsules):

Scottie Scheffler

The lowdown: The world No. 1 just had a tee-to-green campaign for the ages. His putter, on the other hand, has been fully uncooperative for most of 2023. He gained 2.62 strokes per round from tee-to-green this season, which was more than a stroke higher than everyone on Tour other than Rory McIlroy (+1.94). The Texan ranked just 150th in putting, though. Scheffler went 2-0-1 as a Ryder Cup rookie in 2021 at Whistling Straits.

Wyndham Clark

The lowdown: The 29-year-old finally had the breakout campaign that many were waiting for. He first won at the Wells Fargo Championship in May and followed it up with a U.S. Open victory just three starts later. Clark ranked 10th in driving distance this season but just 143rd in accuracy. If the course is set up for precision over power then Clark may be lightly used due to his lack of cup experience and lack of accuracy with the big stick. His 0-2-2 experience at the 2014 Palmer Cup ended with a 4-and-3 singles loss to Jon Rahm.

Brian Harman

The lowdown: The straight-shooting lefty turned a forgettable season into a career year in a matter of just a few weeks. He twirled three straight top-15 finishes in the lead-up to becoming the Champion Golfer of the Year at Royal Liverpool, winning his first major and doing so in runaway fashion (six-shot win). Harman represented his country in two Walker Cups and two Palmer Cups but this will be his pro debut on a cup team. Harman's strengths lie in his accuracy (12th on Tour in driving accuracy) and short game (led the Tour in scrambling this season while ranking 22nd in strokes gained: putting).

Patrick Cantlay

The lowdown: For a while, there was a concern that too many of the American golfers were getting comfortable losing these team events. That's not a problem with Cantlay whose teams are 3-0 with him as a member (2-0 at the Presidents Cup and 1-0 at the Ryder Cup). The all-around nature of his game will allow captain Zach Johnson to trot him out with any partner but his personality meshes best with good buddy Xander Schauffele and they've teamed up to post a 6-3-0 record in team competition.

Max Homa

The lowdown: The standout amateur always had an overabundance of talent and that started to show in recent years, winning five PGA Tour events since the start of 2021. The California kid went 4-0 at Quail Hollow as a Presidents Cup rookie and he'll look to keep that cup momentum rolling in Rome as he readies for his Ryder Cup debut.

Xander Schauffele

The lowdown: Schauffele snagged the sixth and final auto-qualifying spot with his runner-up finish at East Lake but he would have secured a spot on the team regardless. Similar to Cantlay, all he knows is winning as he's 2-0 as a Presidents Cup member and 2021 was his first appearance at a Ryder Cup, doing his part with 4 points secured for the winning squad. Schauffele is playing as steady as anyone right now with his T-42 finish at the Scottish Open being his lone finish outside of the top 25 since early March (13 stroke-play events over that stretch).

Jordan Spieth

The lowdown: There was no doubt that Spieth, who has just two top-10s since a playoff loss at the RBC Heritage, would garner a pick. This U.S. team needs experience, and Spieth has a lot of it with four Ryder Cups under his belt. Sure, he hasn’t won a singles match yet (0-3-1), but you can count on him in team play.

Collin Morikawa

The lowdown: By Morikawa’s loft standard, he didn’t have his best stuff this season, though he still closed strong with a playoff loss in Detroit and top-25s in all three playoff events, including a T-6 at East Lake. He also continues to be one of the best iron players on Tour, ranking second in strokes gained: approach this season. The short game and putting may be exposed in Rome, but when you stripe it like Morikawa, there’s a reason he went 3-0-1 in his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.

Brooks Koepka

The lowdown: After being bumped out of the sixth and final automatic qualifying spot by Schauffele after the BMW Championship, there were questions of whether Koepka, winner of this year’s PGA Championship and T-2 at the Masters, would be tabbed for a pick or not. It’s clear that Johnson sees Koepka’s value, especially at an away Ryder Cup, where his swagger and fearlessness is just as valuable as his 6-5-1 record.

Sam Burns

The lowdown: Since winning the WGC-Match Play in March, Burns has just two top-10s, one being a T-9 at East Lake. He struggled on approach this season, ranking outside the top 100, but he was No. 11 in putting and No. 30 in strokes gained: total. He’s a future staple on these squads, and Scheffler needs a partner for foursomes.

Rickie Fowler

The lowdown: Fowler’s resurgent summer (win at Rocket Mortgage Classic; 54-hole lead at U.S. Open, where he tied for fifth; first Tour Championship berth since 2019) has him back on the U.S. team for the first time since 2018. Fowler ranked ninth in strokes gained: approach this season and was No. 64 or better in all four individual strokes-gained categories. While Fowler’s individual record in four career Ryder Cups isn’t great, there is no doubt that having Fowler in the team room is a benefit.

Justin Thomas

The lowdown: Yes, Justin Thomas. Despite Thomas slumping across the board and failing to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs, Johnson evidently loved Thomas’ fight at Wyndham to almost get into the postseason – and he surely thought that Thomas’ experience and ability to form a ferocious pairing with Spieth was too good to pass on. With a 6-2-1 record in two Ryder Cups, Thomas should be leaned on heavily in Rome, whether he’s in elite form coming in or not. These team matches just bring out the best in him.