Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka would love to play in the Ryder Cup. But will Zach Johnson pick them?
What happens with LIV Golf members for the Ryder Cup this fall in Rome is still a big unknown
Both Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka want to play for Team USA this fall in the Ryder Cup, but they realize that the decision — especially after their jump to LIV Golf — isn’t up to them.
At least at this point, team captain Zach Johnson isn’t sure about those two, either.
Speaking ahead of the PGA Championship this week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, Johnson admitted that he hasn’t been able to watch Dustin Johnson or Koepka much since they left for the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed league. That makes it difficult to commit to using any of his six captain’s picks on them.
“I don't travel anywhere but the PGA Tour and the majors … I don't know,” Zach Johnson said Wednesday. “I haven't really gotten down to the stats and crunching of data and that sort of thing, so it's not really fair for me to say that's the only measurement. But I am in the golf circles. I know what's going on. I'm not oblivious to things.
“The way I see it is every guy that wants to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team should try to make the top six. However that looks, you've got to play good and earn your way onto that team.”
Scottie Scheffler is currently more than 10,000 points ahead of the rest of the field in the U.S. Ryder Cup team standings. Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Young, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay then round out the top six. The top six in those standings after the BMW Championship will automatically make Team USA.
Zach Johnson will then pick the final six players to round out the 12-man squad. Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Wyndham Clark, Tony Finau and even Rickie Fowler are all in position to be in contention.
The Ryder Cup is currently scheduled for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy. Team USA hasn't won an event on European soil since 1993.
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka both want to play in Ryder Cup
Both Dustin Johnson and Koepka would be solid choices for the Ryder Cup team, but because they don't accumulate points toward automatic qualifying via the LIV tour, they're going to have to convince Zach Johnson to use a pick on them.
Johnson, who won 24 times on the PGA Tour before leaving for LIV Golf, went a perfect 5-0 in Team USA’s blowout win over the Europeans at the last Ryder Cup in Wisconsin in 2021. He’s currently in 37th in the points standings but has only the three majors left to accumulate more points.
Johnson, who won LIV Golf’s tournament in Oklahoma last week, finished T48 at the Masters last month. He’s listed at +2,500 to win this week on BetMGM.
"I have no idea if I'd get picked," he said. "Obviously, if I continue to play really well for the rest of the year, then obviously there's a chance. Yes, I would definitely like to play in the Ryder Cup. It's one of my favorite events to play in, especially after the last Ryder Cup. Obviously had a pretty good week. And yeah, it's just an awesome event, and yeah, I'd love to be a part of it."
Koepka is in a similar position. He has played on three previous Ryder Cup teams and holds a 6-5-1 overall record. Koepka finished T2 at the Masters last month, too, though he was 4 shots behind winner Jon Rahm.
He’s listed at +2,000 to win this week on BetMGM and sits 22nd in the points standings.
"It would be awesome to represent the United States," Koepka said. "Anytime we do it, it's always fun. But I'm not focused on it. It's not, like, my first thought when I go play well this week. If I handle my business out here, everything will take care of itself. If you win, go second, first, first, first, it would be kind of tough not to pick, right? If you go handle business, I feel like I should be fine.
“But it's not up to me. It's up to Zach and what goes on. I just play my best and see what happens from there, but I would love to play for him.”
What about the European team?
Like his American counterpart, Team Europe captain Luke Donald will have a difficult decision when it comes to LIV Golf members for the Ryder Cup this fall.
In order for European golfers to be considered, they have to be part of the DP World Tour. That automatically eliminates longtime team members Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, who all resigned from the tour earlier this month after leaving for LIV Golf.
“It's a shame that there were some resignations,” Donald said Tuesday in New York. “A lot of these guys have built their legacy around DP World Tour members and their participation and everything with the Ryder Cup. But ultimately that was their decision, and unfortunately, they're off the table now for selection purposes for myself.”
But at least for now, Donald said he hasn't talked much with Zach Johnson about what they should do regarding LIV Golf members. There’s no “captains’ agreement” or anything like that in place.
What Zach wants to do with his team, Donald said, is up to him.
“To be honest, I think that the team selections should be pretty separate,” Donald said. “I'm in charge of the European team and what's best for us, and he's in charge of the U.S. Team and what's best for him. I think that's just how it should be.”