Team USA qualifiers locked in for Ryder Cup with Scottie Scheffler leading the way, but Brooks Koepka misses out

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The six qualifiers for the USA’s Ryder Cup team have been locked in after a few last-minute moves at the BMW Championship. 

Scottie Scheffler may have missed out to Europe’s Viktor Hovland and his final round of 61 Sunday but the American needn’t have worried, he was always a lock in for Zach Johnson’s side for Rome. 

However, other big names will be left sweating as they wait by the phone to discover if they’ve got the call up from Johnson to take on the Europeans after missing out on the automatic qualifying spots. 

Xander Schauffele did enough to squeeze into the automatic qualifying spots, despite a bogey on the final hole at the BMW Championship. He closed with a two-under 68 at Olympia Fields and tied for eighth, giving him the sixth and final automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team.

However, Schauffele’s gain was Brooks Koepka’s loss – and a big one too. 

The six qualifiers for Zach Johnson's USA Ryder Cup team have been locked in

The six qualifiers for Zach Johnson’s USA Ryder Cup team have been locked in

Scottie Scheffler was never a doubt for the American team taking on the Europeans

Scottie Scheffler was never a doubt for the American team taking on the Europeans 

But Brooks Koepka missed out on a qualifying spot for Rome, falling to No. 7

But Brooks Koepka missed out on a qualifying spot for Rome, falling to No. 7

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The PGA Championship winner went from a remarkable feat of getting among the six automatic spots as a LIV Golf rebel to needing a call from Johnson. 

Koepka left the PGA Tour for Saudi-backed LIV Golf last June and only had access to Ryder Cup points in the majors. He was a runner-up at the Masters and won the PGA Championship, with points counting double for winners of a major.

Koepka fell from No. 5 to No. 7, finishing 29 points behind Schauffele. Max Homa had been in the final spot and shot 68 to tie for fifth.

Schauffele finished with 9,450 points in 26 qualifying tournaments. Koepka had 9,421 points in 10 counting events.

Any other player who finished just outside qualifying, had won five majors and was 6-5-1 in his three Ryder Cup appearances would seem to be a lock. The wild card is Koepka being part of LIV Golf and its 48-man fields over 54 holes.

Since his victory in the PGA Championship, Koepka tied for 17th in the U.S. Open and tied for 64th in the British Open. At LIV Golf, he had only one finish in the top 10 in five events, and the last two he was near the bottom of the pack.

Xander Schauffele did enough to squeeze into the automatic qualifying spots on Sunday

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Xander Schauffele did enough to squeeze into the automatic qualifying spots on Sunday 

The last American who finished just outside automatic qualifying and was not picked was Bubba Watson for the 2016 matches at Hazeltine.

Schauffele at least doesn’t have to wait on a phone call. He was bypassed in the standings in favor of Tony Finau for the 2018 matches in France.

‘You don´t really want to sit around and wait for the phone call,’ Schauffele said. ‘Been on both sides of it. … I remember getting a call saying, “No” and a call saying, “Yes.” It´s nice to automatically qualify.’

Schauffele had no reason to worry. Captains typically take those who finish just short of the automatic spots, especially with his performance and natural partnership with Cantlay.

Most of the attention is on Justin Thomas, who did not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs

Most of the attention is on Justin Thomas, who did not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs

‘I would hope that I would get picked. I think I´ve proven enough in those events, in the team rooms and with my golf that I can play in these team events and help a team win,’ Schauffele said ‘You never know, though. Like I said, it´s nice to automatically qualify.’

See also  Justin Thomas collapses to the ground in disbelief after missing out on FedEx Cup playoffs following agonizing chip

Jordan Spieth, who has played in every Ryder Cup since 2014, narrowly made it to the Tour Championship. He finished at No. 8, followed by Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns.

Rickie Fowler, who won the Rocket Mortgage this summer for his first win in five years, is at No. 13. Most of the attention is on Justin Thomas, who is No. 15 and did not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs (top 70) for the first time in his career. He also has a 6-2-1 record in the two Ryder Cups he has played.

Of the potential captain’s picks, seven will be at East Lake for one last audition. That includes Lucas Glover, who had won his previous two starts to reach No. 5 in the FedEx Cup. Glover finished at No. 16 in the Ryder Cup standings.

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