United States Captain Jim Furyk is excited to start working with his eight automatic qualifiers for Team USA following the conclusion of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.
Reigning US Open and PGA Champion Brooks Koepka headlines the American team alongside World Number One Dustin Johnson, reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed, Major Champions Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, and past Ryder Cup stars Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson as the eight players who automatically qualified for the 2018 USA team as they begin preparations to retain The Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Paris in September.
“I'm excited, and I know these eight players are excited as well,” he said. “I've been waiting 18 months to get a touch, to get a feel for who our qualifiers would be, who the eight players would be, and that 18 months has flown by in certain respects. It also seems like it's taken forever in others.
“This eight is exciting for any captain. Love having this group, and they bring a lot to the table, and they love to compete. That's what sticks out to me the most. I also know the team we're going up against in Europe is very strong.
“You look at the World Rankings from both sides, it's really even in the top 20. The Europeans know this golf course very well. It's a great golf course and they have a lot of experience around it. They'll set the golf course up in a way that they think will favour their team, and they have the home crowd.
“When you look at these matches, it's been very lopsided the last 20 to 30 years to the home side. So I'm very excited about my team, and I have a lot of confidence in these eight players, but each and every one of them knows the task ahead of us, and they know it's going to be tough.”
The four remaining slots on the US Team will be Captain's wildcards with the likes of Bryson Dechambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Tony Finau all vying for a Captain’s pick over the coming weeks.
Three selections will be announced by Captain Furyk following the Dell Technologies Championship scheduled to be completed on September 3, 2018, and the final selection will be announced after the BMW Championship, which is slated to be completed on September 9, 2018.
“We are looking ahead, and we have a long-term plan, but we're trying to identify the four players that fit with these eight. When I look at my captain's picks, I'll be looking at guys that have had a great body of work this year, guys that are playing well and maybe hot players at the time. I'm looking at pairings. I'm looking at who fits in well with these eight players.
“I'm also looking at the golf course. Le Golf National is a wonderful golf course, in my opinion, but it suits a certain style of player, and I'll be looking at that. It's my job to round this team out in the best possible way, and these four players that we'll add, I think, will give us the best opportunity to be successful, whether that's adding more veterans, whether that's adding some rookies to the team or some youth, I think both can be very valuable.”
1. Brooks Koepka (World Number Two)
2. Dustin Johnson (World Number One)
3. Justin Thomas (World Number Three)
4. Patrick Reed (World Number 12)
5. Bubba Watson (World Number 14)
6. Jordan Spieth (World Number Eight)
7. Rickie Fowler (World Number Nine)
8. Webb Simpson (World Number 20)