Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders: Team USA


Steve Stricker has six captain’s picks for his Ryder Cup team, and here are some of the contenders he could pick

Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders: Team USA

Competition for places at the Ryder Cup as a captain’s picks is extremely competitive on both teams, with experienced players with Ryder Cup pedigree battling against in-form golfers narrowly missing out on automatic qualification.

USA team captain Steve Stricker will have six choices available to him, while Europe team captain Padraig Harrington has just three, due to the way each team is selected.

Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay have all qualified automatically for the United States Ryder Cup team, though Steve Stricker now has the tough task of selecting six players – which he will do following the conclusion of the Tour Championship.

Some big names, such as Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler haven’t managed to qualify for the team, and there is no guarantee that Stricker will select all of them despite their experience and some impressive performances this year.

With just the Tour Championship remaining for American players to stake their claim for Stricker’s team, there aren’t many more opportunities left, though there are still plenty of contenders vying for those wildcard spots.

Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders: Team USA

Tony Finau

Tony Finau seemed almost certain to make the US Ryder Cup team automatically after his win at the Northern Trust in the first of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but Patrick Cantlay’s win the week after at the BMW Championship meant Finau dropped outside the automatic spots.

The 31-year-old played at the 2018 Ryder Cup, and it seems likely that Stricker will select him, considering how close he came to automatically qualifying for the team.

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele hasn’t played at a Ryder Cup before, so would go to Whistling Straits as a rookie if he is selected.

The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist has performed consistently throughout the Ryder Cup qualifying process, and sits eighth on the point list, which should be enough to warrant his selection as one of the captain’s picks.

Harris English

Harris English Team USA Ryder Cup

Harris English also hasn’t played at the Ryder Cup before, but his two wins on the PGA Tour this year means he is certainly in the conversation to make the United States team.

Victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Travelers Championship this year shows the ability that English has, though a host of competitive names means that it won’t be easy to force his way onto the team.

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders: Team USA

Of all the contenders vying for a wildcard pick for the US Ryder Cup team, Jordan Spieth seems the most impossible player for Stricker to leave out.

The three-time Major champion has played at the last three Ryder Cups and most recently won the Valero Texas Open in April 2021, showing that he isn’t suffering from a large dip in form either.

An experienced player at just 28, Spieth’s inclusion seems inevitable.

Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed Ryder Cup

Patrick Reed, AKA Captain America, is another player that should surely make the US Ryder Cup team.

Despite missing the first two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs with an ankle injury and bilateral pneumonia, Reed is returning for the Tour Championship and a three-time Ryder Cup appearance maker, scoring eight points in the process.

If fit and firing, Stricker won’t be able to leave Reed out, although past outspoken controversies could potentially stand in his way.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

A constant mainstay figure in the USA team over recent years, Phil Mickelson has featured in the last 12 Ryder Cups and approaches the tournament this year off the bag of his PGA Championship win at Kiawah Island.

While that performance was mesmerising, Mickelson is over 50-years-old and sits 20th in the Ryder Cup points list, showing that he hasn’t played to his full potential over the qualifying period.

The six-time Major champion undoubtedly possesses the experience at the tournament to make the team, but it’s whether or not Stricker trusts his ability over the three days.

Will Zalatoris 

Will Zalatoris

Will Zalatoris would be an extremely wildcard pick if he were to make the Ryder Cup team, but the 25-year-old has proven at this year’s Majors that he thrives under pressure.

Zalatoris followed up a second place finish at the Masters with a T8 PGA Championship finish, proving that he has the ability on his day to shock people.

While his form has been hit and miss this season, he could still appear at the Ryder Cup rookie, should Stricker want to add a bit of the unknown to his team.

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler Ryder Cup Wildcard Contenders: Team USA

Rickie Fowler has seriously struggled for form over the past couple of seasons – in 2021 he has managed just one top-ten and he failed to make the top-125 for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

However, Fowler has appeared in four of the last five Ryder Cups, and his tournament experience could prove pivotal in him making the team for Whistling Straits.

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