Zach Johnson Makes Picks for 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup
30 Aug,2023

By Tim Liotta


Zach Johnson Makes Picks for 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup

United States Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson took the long view when making his six captain's picks for the 2023 team, which will attempt to end the United States' 30-year drought on foreign soil in the 44th Ryder Cup competition next month in Italy.

Johnson selected Brooks Koepka, the five-time major champion and winner of the 2023 PGA Championship who is a member of LIV Golf, along with Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The selections were announced in a press conference Tuesday morning. 

Johnson's six captains picks join World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark, 2023 Open champion Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele, who earned their spots through a Ryder Cup points race.

"Really excited about having my 12 guys complete," Johnson said Tuesday. "Really excited that these are the guys that all of us, corporately, feel like we can go on a mission with only one goal. But we're going to do it together. 

"We're going to do it with character. We're going to do it with high class. We're going to do it with the integrity that the Ryder Cup deserves."

The U.S. team will travel to Italy to compete at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, designed by architects Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane. The course has hosted two Italian Opens since opening in 1989. 

Morikawa, Spieth and Thomas have won eight major champions between them, but not one has been able to win a tournament of any kind in 2023. Burns won the Dell Matchplay in March, a designated event, and Fowler won the Rocket Mortgage in July to cap a much improved season. 

"To say I'm excited about these gents would be an understatement," Johson said of his selections. "They check all the boxes. Fierce competitors, great versatility, great flexibility when it comes to pairings, when it comes to the fit for Marco Simone, a great fit for each other, which is massive.

"With that, I think, comes a lot of just awesome options, successful pairings, an opportunity to do what we want to do, and that's to win."

Not since 1993 has the United States won the Ryder Cup on foreign soil. Europe has won nine of the last 13 Ryder Cups, even though the United States dominated in the last renewal in 2021, winning 19-9 at Whistling Straits in 2021.

"We have an opportunity in front of us that we're all going to relish and embrace," Johnson said. "What has happened in the past, we'll learn from, but it's a new team. This is a new year on a new golf course.

"The only constants are I would think most of the fans will be against us, and our opponent is going to be very good. Other than that, I'm not going to dwell too much on what's happened prior because I don't think the relevance should have any bearing on what we're doing as a team in 2023."

The Ryder Cup, contested every two years between the United States and Europe, may be the only event that carries more pressure than a major championshiop for the best players in the game.

"I would say that the Ryder Cup is the most pressure that I've ever felt as a golfer," Scheffler said prior to the FedEx St. Judes three weeks ago. 

"Some of my buddies, we were at the lake last weekend, and some of my buddies were asking me about the Ryder Cup and if it really was that intense, and I was like -- when I stepped up on the first tee in the first match, I literally could not feel my arms, and I've been really nervous before, and I was really nervous at the Masters, but I could still feel my arms. 

"When I teed up at the Ryder Cup, literally could not feel my arms."