One of the biggest stories entering the Ryder Cup’s opening session is who isn’t playing: Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Spieth and Thomas have been stalwarts for the American side and played a key role in the United States’ recent success. They also were a bright spot in the previous Ryder Cup in Europe, going 3-1 in the United States’ loss at Le Golf National outside Paris.
Zach Johnson, the U.S. Captain, did not want to divulge the reasons for his decision to sit them Friday morning but said it was not a reflection on the pair’s form. Thomas is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Fortinet Championship, his best showing since February, while Spieth has not played since the TOUR Championship. He and his wife Annie welcomed their second child two weeks ago.
“There’s a lot of things that I’d like to keep internal there. At the same time, I have the utmost confidence in these eight (playing Friday morning) and the utmost confidence in Jordan and Justin,” Johnson said. “I know we’re talking about a great tandem, but it’s a situation where it’s not about their form. They’re playing great.
“So it’s really just a matter of trying to dissect all five sessions.”
The Ryder Cup features five sessions compacted into three days, with two sessions being played both Friday and Saturday. It has become increasingly rare for players to compete in all five sessions, and that will be especially true this week at the hot and hilly Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome.
Still, it was surprising to not see Spieth and Thomas in the United States’ morning lineup. Even after the worst season of his professional career, Thomas was picked for the U.S. Team because of the emotional boost he brings and because of his past Ryder Cup success. He’ll be cheering from the sidelines Friday morning.
Spieth and Thomas are 8-2 as a team in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, including a 4-0-0 performance last year at Quail Hollow. They are 4-2 in Foursomes in both competitions, as well. They did, however, play just two sessions in 2021, going 1-1.
“We’ve got 12 guys. Unfortunately, I can’t play all 12 each session,” Johnson said. “So at some point, somebody’s got to sit. It’s a golf course that demands a lot out of you physically.”
Source : PGA Tour