Golf’s showpiece team event, the Ryder Cup, is just over a month away as Team Europe prepare to make the journey across the pond to Whistling Straits and two-time Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington has an embarrassment of riches to choose from after his starting six.
Team USA, however, began their preparations in a more fractured method than normal. The American’s number three and four picks, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, have been embroiled in a war of words on and off the course all season. They both have been adamant that their feud will not affect their performance, going as far as to say that it’s ‘good for the game’ and DeChambeau thinking it would be ‘funny’ to be paired with Koepka, but it's hardly ideal preparation for one of golf's biggest competitions.
With five of the six automatic qualifying places up for grabs and two PGA tour events to earn the precious qualification points, Kevin Kisner managed to move up five places with a playoff win at the Wyndham Championship. Kisner defeated Branden Grace, Kim Si-woo, Kevin Na, Adam Scott and Roger Sloan with a birdie on the second extra playoff hole, after Australia’s Scott failed to sink the winning four-foot putt on the first hole.
Kisner finally broke his playoff duck, becoming 1-5 in his career, putting himself right in contention to be part of Steve Stricker’s six wildcard picks. The 37-year-old has never been picked nor qualified to be a part of a Team USA campaign, however his win at 2019’s WGC Matchplay proved that he finds success in a one-vs-one format and his recent record of 16 rounds of his last 20 being in the 60s, he’s clearly finding form at an important time.
Stricker’s wildcard selection is sure to be tough, with the popular tour players Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed all looking to be part of the 12-man selection, while veterans such as Phil Mickelson and Stuart Cink are also gathering a good amount of qualifying points to put themselves in the mind of the captain.
The 43rd Ryder Cup takes place next month in Wisconsin from 24th-27th of September, where Team Europe, led by three-time major winnerHarrington, make the journey to play three-time senior major winner Stricker’s Team USA.