U.S. Captain Steve Stricker Rounds Out Ryder Cup Team With Six Selections

By Andrew Wagner, Contributor
KOHLER, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker speaks during the 43rd Ryder Cup Captain's Picks Press Conference at Whistling Straits on September 08, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. Stricker announced Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Daniel Berger and Scottie Scheffler as his captain's picks. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Getty Images

With a little more than two weeks before the first tee shots, the United States team is set for the 43rd Ryder Cup.

U.S. Captain Steve Stricker announced six selections — Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth — to the team for the biennial international showdown which returns later this month after a one-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spieth will be making his fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance, the longest streak of any player player on the U.S. Roster while Finau is representing the U.S. for the second time.

The remaining four of the players will be making their Ryder Cup debuts, giving Stricker five rookies overall, which he sees as something of a bonus when finalizing his roster.

“We've done some analysis of those rookies since 2008 and U.S. rookies are 40-29-17 record in Ryder Cup,” Stricker said. “So rookies fare very well in this type of format and we're excited to have these rookies."

When choosing his team, Stricker took into account the challenges provided by Whistling Straits, a 7,390-yard course nestled along the western shore of Lake Michigan that also played host to the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015.

"We were looking for the best players to perform here at Whistling Straits," Stricker said. "These six guys that we picked fit Whistling Straits to a 'T.'”

Their recent performances naturally played a role in their selection, too. All five rookies are ranked among the top 16 according to the most recent World Golf Rankings while Finau is currently 9th and Spieth 15th.

"Definitely course fit and the way these guys have been playing," Stricker said. "All six of these guys have been playing some really good golf and for a long period of time. I didn't want to just leave it to the last couple of events to make our determination on who was going to be picked. It's more about the body of work."

Notably absent from the roster is 31-year-old Patrick Reed, who has appeared in three previous Ryder Cups but is still recovering from a bout of pneumonia that left him hospitalized last month.

"That was a very difficult call," Stricker said. "Kind of lost sleep over that one. He's a tremendous competitor. He brings a lot to match-play golf ... I think it was just the uncertainty really of his health and really the lack of play that went into our decision down the stretch."

The event gets underway Sept. 21.

2021 Ryder Cup Teams

United States

Captain: Steve Stricker

Vice Captains: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson

Players: Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas. 


Captain: Padraig Harrington

Vice Captains: Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell

Players: Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovlan, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood

Note: Automatic qualifying for the European team will not be complete until after this weekend’s BMW PGA Championship in the United Kingdom.

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