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Johnson's U.S. Ryder Cup captaincy isn't getting any easier

Zach Johnson Zach Johnson - The Canadian Press

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Zach Johnson says he would prefer his job as U.S. Ryder Cup captain be as difficult as possible when it comes to putting together his 12-man team.

“That means the guys are in a good state and in good form, which is really ultimately what’s important,” he said at the British Open.

His job is getting increasingly difficult by the major.

Brian Harman was No. 20 in the U.S. standings when he won the British Open and moved to No. 3, making him virtually a lock to get one of the six automatic qualifying spots.

Wyndham Clark was at No. 30 when he won the Wells Fargo Championship with its $20 million purse for his first PGA Tour title, and then he won the U.S. Open. He now is at No. 2 on the points list, also a shoo-in.

Scottie Scheffler is the only American who mathematically has clinched a spot. But with every newcomer, that means one more player on whom Johnson will have to use a captain’s pick. That includes Justin Thomas, who is 6-2-1 in his two appearances and has dropped to No. 14. Thomas is playing the next two weeks to try to qualify for the FedEx Cup.

Points are based on PGA Tour earnings — 1 point for every $1,000. That counts double for a major champion, while everyone else gets 1.5 points for each $1,000 in the majors.

The 3M Open has a $7.8 million pure. The Wyndham Championship is $7.6 million. The final two stops before Ryder Cup qualifying ends are FedEx Cup playoff events with $20 million prize funds.

“Our points system is based on money, and when you inflate the money, volatility ensues," Johnson said. "I can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh, this is going to happen, that’s going to happen.’ I have no idea. Because you just never know what might happen based on how guys finish. Finish the top 10 in one of those elevated events is just substantial.”

Brooks Koepka can only watch. He reached No. 2 with his PGA Championship victory (after a Masters runner-up), but as a LIV Golf player, he has no more access to PGA Tour earnings. And with two mediocre major performances, he is at No. 4.

Koepka is roughly the equivalent of $750,000 ahead of Xander Schauffele, $967,000 ahead of Patrick Cantlay and $1.157 million ahead of Max Homa at No. 7. For someone like Homa, he could make that up with a third-place finish in the postseason.

Others on the outside who played in the last Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup are Cameron Young, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Tony Finau. Rickie Fowler is at No. 12.


Masters champion Jon Rahm is among 12 players who made the cut in all four majors this year, and it goes even further back for the Spaniard.

This was the fourth straight year Rahm has made the cut in every major, the longest active streak that dates to the 2019 PGA Championship. Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Tyrrell Hatton made the cut in all four majors for the second straight year.

The others to make every major cut this year were Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Ryan Fox, Tommy Fleetwood and Cameron Smith.


Jason Day is the latest member of the “Silver Slam” club in golf — finishing runner-up in all four majors. Day was among the four players who tied for second at the British Open.

He was runner-up with Adam Scott at the Masters when Charl Schwartzel won in 2011. Day finished one shot behind Jimmy Walker in the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. His U.S. Open runner-up came at Merion in 2013.

The last player to complete the “Silver Slam” was Louis Oosthuizen, when he was runner-up in the 2017 PGA Championship.

The most notable member of this club is Greg Norman, the only player to lose all four majors in a playoff. Craig Wood lost three majors in a playoff. He also lost the PGA Championship when it required extra holes.


Scottie Scheffler did not win a major this year, though it wasn't from a lack of trying. He was a combined 18-under par in the four majors, the best of any player who made all the cuts.

Scheffler finished two shots ahead of Viktor Hovland, who was at 16 under. Masters champion Jon Rahm was at 15 under.

Scheffler and Hovland were the only players to finish or par or better in all four majors.


The notion that LIV Golf players would not be properly prepared for the majors was put to rest quickly when Brooks Koepka was the 54-hole leader at the Masters and won the PGA Championship.

Koepka is a different breed when it comes to the majors and when he’s healthy. But the rest of the group played about how one would expect.

Koepka, Cameron Smith and Patrick Reed were the only LIV players who made the cut in all four majors. It was the second straight year Reed made the cut in all four majors.

After 12 players made the cut in the Masters, LIV had 10 players reach the weekend at the rest of the majors, all of them with 156-man fields.

Next year, those numbers figure to shrink, especially if the world ranking continues to be one of the criteria. Joaquin Niemann, Talor Gooch, Abraham Ancer and Thomas Pieters are among those whose only entry would appear to be qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.

Reed would be exempt only for the Masters.


Brian Harman is the fifth left-handed player to win a major after Bob Charles, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. ... Rose Zhang is No. 35 in the women's world ranking. The leading two players from the world ranking not already eligible make the Solheim Cup team. Zhang currently holds down the second ranking spot. ... Keith Mitchell made in the cut in the first three majors this year. He was not exempt for the British Open and chose to play the Barracuda Championship. He missed the cut. ... For those who grow weary of reporters posing a question by saying “talk about,” consider this from Zach Johnson: He was asked if he could “talk about” Brian Harman before the final round of the British Open. The Ryder Cup replied: "Sure. Can you ask me some questions about Brian?” ... Thomas Lehman, the son of Minnesota native and former British Open champion Tom Lehman, is playing on a sponsor exemption at the 3M Open.


The British Open was the first major this year that did not have a LIV Golf player finish in the top 10.


“I put myself in a position to win a major championship and had an unfortunate day. But one of these times the unfortunate day will be the next Tuesday or something, and not Sunday.” — Cameron Young, who played in the final group at the British Open and shot 73.


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