US Ryder Cup squad starts taking shape at BMW Championship

golf16 August 2023 23:55| © Reuters
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Keegan Bradley © Getty Images

Qualifying for the US Ryder Cup team concludes after Sunday's final round of the PGA's BMW Championship with four points-based spots still available in the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event.

That has added to the tension at Olympia Fields in suburban Chicago, where Ryder Cup points and captain's picks hopefuls need to shine and the top 30 in season points advance to next week's Tour Championship in Atlanta.

"We have so much at stake these next two weeks, whether it's money, Ryder Cup," US standout Keegan Bradley said. "There's so much to play for, and that's really exciting."

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler, last year's Masters champion, and reigning US Open champion Wyndham Clark are the only players who have clinched Ryder Cup spots on points for next month's showdown against Europe in Italy.

Currently in the other four Ryder Cup spots are fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay, the two-time defending BMW champion; British Open champion Brian Harman, LIV Golf's Brooks Koepka, who won his fifth major at May's PGA Championship, and Max Homa.

Among those chasing at this week's 50-player event with a chance to bump into the Ryder Cup line-up are reigning Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, two-time major winners Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, 2022 British Open runner-up Cameron Young, 2011 PGA Championship winner Bradley and 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover, who won the past two PGA Tour events.

"I've never made it and I want to," Glover said of the Ryder Cup. "That was a goal from the day I turned pro back in 2001."

US captain Zach Johnson will name his six picks after the Tour Championship.

Asked if he would pick himself with his hot form, 43-year-old Glover said, "Playing pretty good golf and I think I'd be pretty good in the team room and be a good partner, so yeah absolutely I would."

Bradley, 37, played on the 2012 and 2014 losing Ryder Cup teams.

"I would really like to be on a winning Ryder Cup team someday," he said. "I think about the Ryder Cup every second I'm awake basically.

"I feel like I could bring some experience to the team. I feel like I could be a good partner to a lot of guys."

Cantlay, third in points to all-but seal his spot in Italy, trusts Johnson to sort out what this week doesn't solve.

"There's no one more capable of making educated picks than him," Cantlay said. "This go-around seems like it's maybe tougher than years past. There's a lot of horses for a limited amount of slots. It's going to be a tough set of picks. I trust him. He's going to do a great job."

In the FedEx Cup playoff chase, reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm of Spain remains the points leader ahead of Scheffler. That would give Rahm a two-stroke edge at the start of the Tour Championship at East Lake if he can stay in front this week.

"Point of coming to the playoffs is to give yourself the best chance to get to East Lake on the No 1 spot," Rahm said. "I've done a pretty good job so far. Hopefully this week I can have a good performance and give myself the best shot."