USA Ryder Cup Wildcards: Why they will and won’t get picked


Assessing Team USA’s Wildcard picks: Why they will and won’t get the call-up to play at Le Golf National

Switch to Team Europe Wildcards: Why they will and won’t get picked

Jim Furyk will be announcing his first three wildcard picks on Tuesday at 10pm BST (5pm ET), a day after the end of the Dell Technologies Championship. He will then follow up with his final pick on Monday, September 10th after the BMW Championship.

Like European skipper Thomas Bjorn, his choices are between those players who are in form like Tony Finau and those that have a huge amount of experience like Phil Mickelson. 

However, with just one rookie (and that rookie being Justin Thomas) on the team so far, Furyk has a better opportunity than Bjorn to choose a multitude of first-time Ryder Cup players if he so wants – whereas Bjorn already has five rookies who have automatically qualified (including the likes of Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood). 

So who will he choose?

One thing that is important to consider is pairings for Furyk. Given he already has a very solid line-up that forms four natural pairings (Brooks Koepka/ Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth/ Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas/ Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson/ Bubba Watson), he has an opportunity to bring two other pairings in or players he thinks will be good all-rounders. 

Here, we break down why each of these players could potentially get picked, and why they might be left at home. 

Bryson DeChambeau

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: Rookie
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 9th

Why he’ll get picked: Bryson has just become the first player to win The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies back-to-back, basically forcing Furyk to pick him as a wildcard. He finished just one spot outisde automatic qualification and now has three victories and five other top 10s this year. He’s a rookie but Tiger has mentioned that he wants him on the team and as a partner, and he’d be a hard one to overlook. 

Why he won’t get picked: Honestly, we can’t see him missing out after back-to-back wins. 

Tiger Woods 

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: 7 Appearances (‘97, ’99, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’10, ’12), Record: 13-17-3
Ryder Cup Points Race: 11th

Why he’ll get picked: Apart from the 14-majors and 7 Ryder Cup appearances, Tiger has performed better than many could have imagined only a year after he was cleared to start chipping the ball. He had the chance to win two majors, has moved to World No. 26 and has five top 10s this year – including three in his last five starts. He also finished 11th in the standings without even playing last year. 

Why he won’t get picked: It’s very unlikely he’ll be overlooked but his Ryder Cup record is surprisingly poor, having lost more matches than he’s won with a record of 13-17-3. That and given the tightness of Le Golf National, his rank of 159th Driving Accuracy percentage on Tour might not do him any favours. 

Phil Mickelson 

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: 11 Appearances (’95, ’97, ’99, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’08, ’10, ’12, ’14,’16), Record: 18-20-7 
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 10th

Why he’ll get picked: Phil hasn’t missed a Ryder Cup since 1995, is the third all-time USA points scorer (despite more losses than wins) and brings a lot of experience to the side. He also claimed his first victory in five years at the WGC Mexico earlier this year. 

Why he won’t get picked: A surprise if he misses out, but he’s not been playing that well in comparison to other potential picks, missing the cut at the Scottish Open and PGA Championship and hasn’t cracked the top 10 anywhere since May, though did finish T12 at the Dell Technologies. 

Tony Finau 

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: Rookie
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 15th

Why he’ll get picked: An in-form player, Finau has five top 10s in his last eight starts including 2nd place to DeChambeau at the Northern Trust and T4 to him at the Dell Technologies. He also finished inside the top 10 in three of the year’s four majors (which includes the Masters on a post-dislocated ankle) and was T17 at WGC Dell Match Play.

Why he won’t get picked: Finished 15th in the US rankings and Furyk might look to players in front of him such as Schauffele, Kisner or Kuchar. His last team appearance was Junior Ryder Cup (’04 and ’06). 

Xander Schauffele

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: Rookie
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 12th

Why he’ll get picked: Schauffele won the Tour Championship and was voted the 2017 Rookie of the year thanks to two victories last season. He’s also proved he can perform in the big moments, shown by T2 at Players and The Open, and T6 in US Open this year. Is a rookie but like Finau was T17 at WGC Dell Match Play this year. 

Why he won’t get picked: Has been really inconsistent apart from in the majors and Players, missing the cut at The Northern Trust – one of four MC in his last nine starts – and finishing T49 at the Dell Technologies.

Kevin Kisner

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: Rookie
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 14th 

Why he’ll get picked: Kisner rose to the occasion in his first Team USA outing at the Presidents Cup, winning 3 points and not losing a single match (2-0-2). He was the runner up at the WGC Dell match-play earlier this year, proving he is good at that style of play, and finished 2nd at The Open and T12 at the PGA Championship. 

Why he won’t get picked: Another player that’s been quite streaky this season. He’s had three top 10s and seven MCs this year, the latest being at the RBC Heritage before a T73 at  Northern Trust – and it might mean he gets overlooked for someone on better form. He did finish T24 at the Dell Technologies, but he still is likely to be edged out in favour of someone like Finau. 

Matt Kuchar 

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: 4 Appearances (’10, ’12, ’14’, 16), Record: 6-7-2
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 13th

Why he’ll get picked: A player with plenty of experience who has played in pairings with DJ, Koepka and Mickelson on both Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and could likely link with anyone. A top 10 at The Open was his fourth top 10 of the year.

Why he won’t get picked: Kuchar is the least on form of Furyk’s choices despite ending high on the USA Points list, having missed four of his last eight cuts, finishing T60 at The Northern Trust and T43 at the Dell Technologies. It means he has missed out on qualifying for the next FedEx Cup playoff event, making his case harder for a pick. He was also a Captain’s pick in 2016 but hasn’t performed well in singles matches over the years (1-3-0) so Furyk may opt to give someone else a chance this time. 

Brandt Snedeker 

➤ Ryder Cup Experience: 2 Appearances (’12, ’16)
➤ Ryder Cup Points Race: 12th

Why he’ll get picked: Snedeker has three top 10s in his last six starts, including a win at the Wyndham Championship in his last outing. He also combined well with Koepka in 2016 in two matches and won his singles to claim 3 points from 3 outings. Finished T31 at Dell Technologies.

Why he won’t get picked: Injury forced him out of The Northern Trust and that may cause doubt for Furyk. Snedeker has also been quite inconsistent this year, carding four top 10s but missed seven cuts in 2018. 

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