Brooks Koepka. LIV Golf
Brooks Koepka’s ability to shine in golf’s most pressure-packed environments made him a no-brainer captain’s pick for Team USA at next month’s Ryder Cup in Rome.
“He’s built, in my mind, for the biggest of stages,” said USA captain Zach Johnson, “and there’s no bigger stage than the Ryder Cup.”
Johnson revealed his six captain’s picks on Tuesday from the PGA of America headquarters in Frisco, Texas. Koepka was the lone LIV Golf member named to the team, with Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas also receiving picks.
They join automatic qualifiers Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele on the US squad that will compete against captain Luke Donald’s European Team at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in late September.
The Americans will be looking for their first Ryder Cup victory on European soil since 1993. Having a veteran such as Koepka in the line-up will be vital for a team with four rookie Ryder Cuppers. At 33 years old. Koepka is the third oldest American on the roster, behind Harman (36) and Fowler (34).
Koepka will be appearing in his fourth Ryder Cup and fifth national team appearance for the US since turning pro. Of the 12 Americans on the team, Koepka has the most major victories with five, with his most recent win coming in May at the PGA Championship.
His Ryder Cup match record is 6-5-1, and he’s posted two wins each in both foursomes and four-balls.
“I know his buddies want him on the team,” Johnson said. “He’s very versatile. Guys want to play with him. That’s evident.”
Koepka also is undefeated in three Ryder Cup singles matches, defeating Danny Willett 5&4 in 2016, halving with Paul Casey in 2018, and defeating Bernd Wiesberger 2&1 in 2021.
Asked why he’s fared so well in singles, Koepka replied: “I think you’re just playing for something bigger than yourself. You don’t want to let the other guys on the team down, and it’s a fun event. It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in a golf tournament was teeing it up at the Ryder Cup.
“I’ve enjoyed it, and every time I’ve played, I’ve just tried to go get a point for the team.”
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) August 29, 2023
The Ryder Cup selection continues Koepka’s renaissance after injuries and surgery left him wondering about his future in golf.
After joining LIV Golf last year as the new Smash captain, Koepka won the regular season finale in Jeddah for his first victory in 20 months.
This April, he won his second LIV title in Orlando, then followed the next week with a runner-up finish at the Masters. A month later, he won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill by two strokes.
Koepka has finished on the podium in two of the last seven LIV Golf tournaments and is ranked fourth in the season-long Individual Champion race going into the 12th tournament of the season in Chicago, Sept. 22-24.
Asked about his return to form, Koepka said: “That’s what I’ve been grinding for. That’s what I’ve been trying to get back into shape, and 100 per cent feel good, just for this moment and get out and go play with the team.
“Super-excited, looking forward to it, and we’ve got a great group of guys, great captain, great assistants. It’s going to be a fun week.”