The Ryder Cup: Team USA player profiles

After defeat to Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, Team USA have had to wait three years for redemption following last year’s postponement.

The biggest tournament in golf is back however, and will be played this weekend, starting tomorrow and finishing on Sunday.

Steve Stricker captains the side that will be cheered on almost exclusively by home fans at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The team consists of one captain and five vice-captains, who will decide how best to deploy the 12 players across the three different formats being played.

Half of the side is made up of debutants and there is animosity amongst some of the players who have played alongside each other before, but they will be hoping to overcome any adversity and take victory on home turf.

The Players

Daniel Berger

Age: 28

Place of Birth: Plantation, Florida

World Ranking: 16

Ryder Cup Record: Debut

On-the-up Daniel Berger has four PGA Tour wins to his name, the latest a victory by two strokes at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

His best result in a major came in the US Open in 2018 finishing sixth, after being tied for the lead after the third round. 

He is known for his precision and accuracy with irons, while outside of golf Berger enjoys spending time on his boat named “Strait Vibin”.

Patrick Cantlay

Age: 29

POB: Long Beach, California

World Ranking: 4

Ryder Cup Record: Debut

The 2021 PGA Tour Player of the Year has had to work harder than most to earn his title.

In 2013 he suffered a stress fracture in his spine that would plague him for several seasons, and just three years later he lost his best friend and caddy to a hit-and-run accident in Newport Beach. 

He comes into the Ryder Cup in sparkling form, winning four PGA Tour events this year, two more than any other player.

Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 27

Place of Birth: Modesto, California

World Ranking: 7

Ryder Cup Appearances: 1

Ryder Cup Record: 0-3-0 (0 wins – 3 losses – 0 draws)

Eyes will be on teammates Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka this weekend, with the pair’s fractious relationship well-documented, meaning it is unlikely they will be paired together for the foursomes or fourballs.

The fiery Californian, whose only major title was the US Open in 2020, has the longest driving range of all competitors, is known for his unconventional club choice and has a highly analytical approach, earning him the nickname ‘The Scientist’.

Harris English

Age: 32

POB: Valdosta, Georgia

World Ranking: 11

Ryder Cup Record: Debut

Fresh from a third place finish at the US Open in June, Harris is the most experienced rookie on the U.S. Team and is finally starting to gain some recognition among pundits.

His quiet, measured demeanour has led to him going under the radar at times, but his diplomatic approach, alongside an exceptional putting record, should prove valuable in a team full of strong personalities.

Tony Finau

Age: 31

Place of Birth: Salt Lake City, Utah

World Ranking: 9

Ryder Cup Appearances: 1 

Record: 2-1-0

For so long, Tony Finau had been one of the Tours’ nearlymen, a perennial contender who consistently fell short of turning his promise into silverware.

However, Finau managed to end his five year wait for a trophy with triumph at the Northern Trust, a victory which may herald a new era in the career of the 31-year-old.

Dustin Johnson

Age: 37

Place of Birth: Columbia, South Carolina

World Ranking: 2

Ryder Cup Appearances: 4 

Record: 7-9-0

Dustin Johnson’s career can be punctuated by two things, persistent wins on the PGA Tour and inconsistency in the Ryder Cup.

Johnson is the most decorated player on team USA, with 33 titles to his name, including two majors, yet his record in the Ryder Cup leaves a lot to be desired.

‘DJ’ as he is called has a losing record in the Ryder Cup.

Last time out in Paris, he endured five matches, winning just one. Surely his form has to improve this time around.

Brooks Koepka

Age: 31

Place of Birth: West Palm Beach, Florida

World Ranking: 10

Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 

Record: 4-3-1

Koepka is the man for the big occasions, as of his ten professional wins, four have come in the Majors.

It would therefore be no surprise if captain Stricker chooses Koepka to play one of the crunch single matches late on the final day.

Unlike many of his compatriots in the American team, Koepka has a decent record in the Ryder Cup, having won more matches than he has lost.

Colin Morikawa

Age: 24

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California

World Ranking: 3

Ryder Cup Appearances: Debut

One of America’s six rookies, Morikawa is the youngest player in America’s team.

Despite his inexperience it is unlikely that Morikawa will be overawed by the occasion, the 24-year-old already has two majors to his name. 

Famed for his clean ball striking and fearless nature, Morikawa is a golfer that no European competitor will want to face.

Xander Schauffele

Age: 27

Place of Birth: San Diego, California

World Ranking: 5

Ryder Cup Appearances: Debut

The San Diego native turned pro in 2015 and has been able to muster four career victories since that time, the most recent of which came in 2019.

However, he was able to win a gold medal during this summer’s Olympics.

Making his Ryder Cup debut for the U.S. Team, he will have to place his European loyalties to one side as he has two grandfathers who were professional footballers in Europe, one of which was an Austrian international.

Scottie Scheffler

Age: 25

Place of Birth: Ridgewood, New Jersey

World Ranking: 21

Ryder Cup Appearances: Debut

Scottie Scheffler will be looking to add some silverware to a strong early career, as he becomes the first player to be selected by Team USA with no PGA Tour victories since 2010.

This should not detract from his strong form, he has top 20 in each of his last five tournaments, and finished second at the World Golf Championships in Dell Technology Match Play, displaying his pedigree in this format.

Jordan Spieth

Age: 28

Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas

World Ranking: 20

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3 

Ryder Cup Record: 7-5-2

Jordan Spieth stormed onto the scene, turning pro aged 19 and became the second youngest player to don the green jacket after winning the Masters in 2015.

The delay to the Ryder Cup has played into the hands of the three-time major winner, as he has recaptured his earlier career form in the past year, with nine finishes in the top ten in 2021 and taking victory in the Valero Texas Open.

Justin Thomas

Age: 28

Place of Birth: Louisville, Kentucky

World Ranking: 6

Ryder Cup Appearances: 1 

Ryder Cup Record: 4-1-0

Justin Thomas comes into his second Ryder Cup looking to follow up on his startling debut in Paris three years ago, where he was Team USA’s top performer, as he won four of his five matches.

He has been on fire this year winning the Players Championship and coming third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

His ability to pull off the spectacular has been displayed by him having the fifth highest rate of eagles on this year’s PGA Tour.


Steve Stricker

Age: 54

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3

Ryder Cup Record: 3-7-1

Stricker will be hoping to claim a second consecutive victory on American soil in his home state of Wisconsin this weekend.

The 12-time PGA Tour winner, who was selected as a vice-captain by Jim Furyk in 2018, has appeared in three Ryder Cup’s himself.

His first appearance was back in 2008 in Valhalla where USA claimed a 16 ½-11 ½ victory despite not scoring a single point.

In 2010 when Europe regained the trophy at Celtic Manor he recorded the joint-most points by an American, but, at Medinah in 2012 he lost all four ties including the decisive singles match against Martin Kaymer which secured Europe’s infamous comeback victory.

Stricker’s best finish at a major tournament was second at the 1998 PGA Championship and with a mixed Ryder Cup record, he is well aware of the trials and tribulations of elite sport.

“You’re going to get blamed if you lose, right, and all the credit goes to the players if they win, which is fine,” he told the Ryder Cup website.

“You want to be part of these competitions and you want to be the guy leading this team and being in charge, and you wouldn’t want to have it any other way.”

Vice Captains

Fred Couples

Age: 61

Ryder Cup Appearances: 5

Ryder Cup Record: 7-9-1

Fred Couples is no stranger to a Ryder Cup, having appeared in five tournaments as a player, in which he won three.

He was also selected as vice-captain to Davis Love III in 2012 at the Medinah Country Club.

Couples has also been tipped to be a future Ryder Cup captain for his homeland, so it’s no surprise that Stricker asked the 1992 Masters champion to help him regain this year’s trophy.

Jim Furyk

Age: 51

Ryder Cup Appearances: 9

Ryder Cup Record: 10-20-4

With nine Ryder Cup appearances under his belt, only fellow vice-captain Phil Mickleson has more than Furyk.

Nicknamed Mr. 58 for shooting a 12-under score of 58 in the Travelers Championship back in 2016, Furyk captained Team USA in the 2018 Ryder Cup and will know this present group of American golfers better than most. 

Phil Mickleson

Age: 51

Ryder Cup Appearances: 12

Ryder Cup Record: 18-22-7

Team USA will be without Mickleson on their playing staff for the first time in 28 years, however, thanks to Stricker, the PGA Champion will be able to utilise his experience on the course at Whistling Straits as vice-captain.

A stalwart of the Ryder Cup, Mickleson has more appearances than any other player.

He made his debut at the Oak Hill Country Club back in 1995 where he won all three of his matches.

Davis Love III

Age: 57

Ryder Cup Appearances: 6

Ryder Cup Record: 9-12-5

Love was the last man to win the Ryder Cup for Team USA five years ago at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

The 1997 PGA Champion also oversaw the dramatic loss at Medinah in 2012 and is one of only eight American’s to captain his country on more than one occasion.

Zach Johnson

Age: 45

Ryder Cup Appearances: 5

Ryder Cup Record: 8-7-2

The youngest of Stricker’s vice-captains, Zach Johnson has appeared in five Ryder Cups for Team USA with a record of eight wins from 17 matches – the highest win percentage of the five assistants.

Brother of player Dustin, Johnson is a two-time major winner, but played in an era with little US success claiming just one victory at Hazeltine in 2016.

The Ryder Cup takes place between Team USA and Team Europe on 24-26 September and you can check out all of SWL’s coverage here.

Featured image credit: WSCS Sheboygan via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 3.0 license

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