The six rookies in the event – Morikawa, Cantlay, English, Schauffele, Berger and Scheffler – are the most for an American squad since 2008, when the team triumphed at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.
The European team are defending champions after an impressive 2018 win in France. Captain Padraig Harrington will announce his choice on Sunday. Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have automatically qualified for the European team. Overall, the United States has a commanding lead of 26-14 in the Ryder Cup, which dates back to 1927, although Europe has won nine of the last 12 games.
The omission of Reed, 31, from the US team was the biggest surprise. Reed has a 7-3-2 record in the games and has won each of his three final day singles matches. But after the 2018 loss in France, Reed also criticized the US team as “a buddy system” that resulted in Reed not teaming up with Spieth, as with two previous Ryder Cups. Together, Reed and Spieth had an impressive 4-1-2 record. In 2018, Spieth played with his childhood friend Thomas, and the duo had a 3-1 record.
However, Stricker said uncertainty over Reed’s health was the main reason he was not with the team this year. Last month, Reed was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia. He returned to the golf course for the first time since the illness at the season-ending Tour Championship last week, finishing 25th out of 29 finishers. Stricker said he called Reed, who ranks 19th in the men’s world rankings, when he briefed players on his last six rosters to the team.
“I apologized to him many times,” Stricker said, “and made sure he knew it was a tough decision. He was disappointed, but treated it like a champion. He said the right things.”
Reed may get another chance to join the team as Koepka injured his wrist and withdrew from last week’s Tour Championship. Stricker admitted on Wednesday that he has had discussions with his vice captains, Mickelson and Fred Couples, about who could be the right replacement if Koepka is unable to compete.
“But we’ll deal with that situation if it happens,” Stricker said.
Scheffler’s addition to the team was arguably the only roster to raise eyebrows in the golf community, as Scheffler is still chasing his first PGA Tour win and was ranked 14th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, the lowest of all American golfers on the team. But he has finished in the top 10 in the past three major championships, and Stricker said he was runner-up in this year’s match play event of the World Golf Championship.