The United States Presidents Cup squad has its frontline in place for next month at Quail Hollow Club. The International team, well, it’s a different story.
The BMW Championship marked the end of the three-year automatic qualifying period for the team event pitting the top American men’s golfers versus the rest of the world outside of Europe. Leading the U.S. squad for the upcoming match, set for Sept. 22-25 in Charlotte, is World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. The 26-year-old has four wins in 2022, including his breakthrough at the Masters, and finished atop the U.S. Presidents Cup rankings. Scheffler, who was a part of the winning U.S. effort at last fall’s Ryder Cup, will be making his Presidents Cup debut.
Also automatically qualifying for the Americans are Patrick Cantlay, a repeat winner at the BMW, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau. Like Scheffler, Burns is making his Presidents Cup debut while Cantlay, Schauffele, and Finau will be playing for a second time. This will be Thomas’ third Presidents Cup, after leading the Americans in points during their 16-14 win in the 2019 match at Royal Melbourne.
“Yeah, it’s quite cool,” Finau said, after securing the sixth and final automatic spot for the U.S. “It’s my first team I’ve made by points. A couple times I finished seventh or eighth right when they moved it to six picks. … It was a goal of mine to start the season, and when I finished playing in Melbourne, it was a goal of mine to make the next team at home. To be able to do it by points I think is pretty special for me. Proud of the work that I’ve done this second half to push myself over the top to make the team.”
U.S. captain Davis Love III is expected to make his six wildcard picks next week. Among those considered locks are Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young, with Billy Horschel expected to round out the team. Zalatoris, however, withdrew midway through the third round at the BMW Championship on Saturday, and though he intends to play in the season-finale Tour Championship next week, his health could open another spot.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to the question marks staring down the Internationals. Like the Americans, the qualifying to make captain Trevor Immelman’s team ended on Sunday, with eight players rather than six automatically earning their way onto the team … presuming they are still on the PGA Tour next month.
That’s because the top finisher on the International team is Cameron Smith. The Players and Open champion reportedly is set to move to LIV Golf following the conclusion of the FedEx Cup playoffs at East Lake next week. Should the Aussie make that jump and play in LIV Golf’s next event in Boston at the beginning of September, he would be suspended by the PGA Tour, which would make him ineligible to compete at the Presidents Cup. For the moment, however, Smith has qualified for the team.
Following Smith are Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Joohyung “Tom” Kim, Corey Conners, Adam Scott and Mito Pereira. Scott will be making his ninth Presidents Cup appearance while Matsuyama playing for a fourth time. Im and Niemann were a part of the 2019 Presidents Cup, and Kim, Conners and Pereira will be making their debuts.
Immelman will get to make his four captain’s picks as well. However, the initial announcement date of the Monday after the Tour Championship may be delayed, sources tell Golf Digest. LIV Golf is expected to announce its newest signees for its Boston event directly after the FedEx Cup—some of which could be prospective International captain’s picks; the tour may wait until those players are announced until naming the rest of the International team.
The U.S. has won the last eight Presidents Cup matches and has a 11-1-1 record overall.
Source : Golf Digest