Home GOLF 2023 Ryder Cup standings: Plenty to shake out still for United States...

2023 Ryder Cup standings: Plenty to shake out still for United States as Justin Thomas, stars seek bids

After studying the Ryder Cup stats and data for a few days following the 151st Open Championship, there is only one conclusion to draw: One month is a lot of time. That’s how long it is until the standings are locked into place, and it will be one week longer until United States captain Zach Johnson makes six selections to add to the six auto-qualifiers and round out the squad.

There is a lot — a lot — of discussion right now over whether presumed lock Justin Thomas will be on the squad. Thomas, who has fallen out of the top 12 in the standings, added this week’s 3M Open and next week’s Wyndham Championship to his schedule. Why? Thomas is attempting to play his way back into the top 12 for the Ryder Cup and try and get inside the top 70 so he qualifies for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin in three weeks at the St. Jude Championship.

As much as it’s worthwhile to have the J.T. discussion because it’s fun and interesting and says a lot about what you believe to be true about golf, we are not all that close to being in position to have it because of how much can change over the next month.

To further this point: Did anyone expect Brian Harman and Wyndham Clark to be inside the top three in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings this time two months ago?

Let’s take a look at the updated standings. Remember, the top six automatically qualify before Johnson makes his captain’s picks. Those picks can be any golfers in the standings, though historically, there is an informal advantage given to those ranked 7-12 once play closes on the season.

2023 Ryder Cup standings: United States 

1 Scottie Scheffler 25,741.74
2 Wyndham Clark 13,366.12
3 Brian Harman 10,194.54
4 Brooks Koepka 9,421.15
5 Xander Schauffele 8,671.98
6 Patrick Cantlay 8,454.75
7 Max Homa 8,264.48
8 Cameron Young 7,679.31
9 Jordan Spieth 7,482.05
10 Keegan Bradley 7,422.34
11 Collin Morikawa 7,116.81
12 Rickie Fowler 6,892.09
13 Sam Burns 6,832.80 -59.29
14 Justin Thomas 6,370.10 -521.99
15 Denny McCarthy 6,239.87 -652.22
16 Kurt Kitayama 5,777.87 -1,114.22
17 Will Zalatoris 5,529.13 -1,362.96
18 Harris English 4,888.27 -2,003.82
19 Tony Finau 4,380.30 -2,511.79
20 Chris Kirk 4,240.27 -2,651.82
21 Sahith Theegala 3,978.68 -2,913.41
22 Adam Schenk 3,952.47 -2,939.62
23 Taylor Moore 3,703.65 -3,188.44
24 Tom Hoge 3,679.26 -3,212.83
25 Russell Henley 3,671.19 -3,220.90

Each $1,000 earned in an event equals 1 point, and two of four remaining events this season (prior to the Tour Championship) are elevated events with first prizes around $3 million (3,000 points).

This brings in a lot of potential volatility. For example, what if Tony Finau wins in Memphis and consequently jumps into 10th or 11th? What if Russell Henley goes berserk over the last month and somehow racks up 4,000 points? As friend and colleague Shane Ryan pointed out, what if Brooks Koepka — who will not play any events that qualify for points — gets jumped by players behind him and falls out of the top six as an automatic pick. Will Johnson still choose him?

If you had to field a team today, the top 12 would probably be it. While there is volatility to be had if one of the golfers outside the top 14 has a great playoffs, it’s not likely this will happen. 

As such, we focus on one man in particular. Let’s see where Keegan Bradley ends up at the end of the next month. He has one top 20 since the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Granted, it was a win at the Travelers Championship; however, if he gets passed by Fowler and Morikawa in the playoffs — and that final spot comes down to Bradley, J.T. and Sam Burns — it’s going to be fascinating to see what Johnson does with that last captain’s pick. If Thomas shows anything (anything!) over the next month, he’s probably in based on past play at this level.

Whether you like it is no matter; he’s the heart of the U.S. team and one golfer the European side truly loathes during the week of the Ryder Cup. When so much rides on the ridge of emotion for three consecutive days, it’s so helpful to have a tip of the spear who wants it all. That does not mean he will play great golf, of course, but it does make sense to try and get the guy who will lead from out in front onto the team — no matter what it takes.

And look at that. We just said we would not have the J.T. discussion, and yet, we went and had the J.T. discussion. It’s almost impossible to discuss the Ryder Cup without him. He has been the pendulum upon which this U.S. side builds up its squad and may be again as the American invade Rome attempting to win their first Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993.

Plenty can happen over the next four weeks that could throw everything we just laid out into the bin. However, if status quo of this season continues to emerge, we’re headed for some nuclear takes the likes of which everyone involved in the Ryder Cup discourse may not be prepared to handle.

These things usually sort themselves out by the time an event like the Ryder Cup rolls around — even at the last minute — despite us spending months and sometimes years yelling about the machinations. I suspect that will be the case this time around, too, and the top 12 will be fairly obvious as Johnson selects his squad and the Americans attempt to return to the States with the trophy they have failed to secure each of the last six times they have tried in Europe.



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