Sept. 21-26, 2021 Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI

The first half of the U.S. Ryder Cup team is officially decided. The top six players in the points race that spanned all the way back to the 2019 Masters have clinched automatic spots on Steve Stricker’s roster at Whistling Straits.

Stricker will add six captain’s picks after the upcoming Tour Championship, but here’s a look at the players that are definitely heading with him to Wisconsin next month. It’s a group that includes a trio of high-profile rookies, some seasoned veterans and plenty of major hardware:

Collin Morikawa

Age: 24
World Ranking: 3
Ryder Cup appearances: Rookie
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0

Season at a glance: Morikawa shined at Royal St. George’s, winning his second major title at The Open to go along with his PGA Championship breakthrough last summer. It’s hard to believe that he was still in college when the last Ryder Cup was played, but now he’ll bring perhaps the best iron game in the world with him to Whistling Straits for his debut. Morikawa has five PGA Tour wins to his credit including those two majors, with four coming since July 2020.

Dustin Johnson

Age: 37
World Ranking: 2
Ryder Cup appearances: 4 (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018)
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 7-9-0 (3-5-0 fourballs, 1-3-0 foursomes, 3-1-0 singles)

Season at a glance: Johnson started the year as the top-ranked player in the world, fresh off a Masters win in November, and he added to that margin with a European Tour victory in February. He hasn’t quite been himself since, with no top-5 finishes in the last eight months, and he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since slipping into the green jacket. But his form has shown signs of a turnaround in recent weeks, notably a T-8 finish at The Open, and given his Ryder Cup experience Johnson will likely play a significant role on Stricker’s squad.

Brooks Koepka

Age: 31
World Ranking: 10
Ryder Cup appearances: 2 (2016, 2018)
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 4-3-1 (2-2-0 fourballs, 1-1-0 foursomes, 1-0-1 singles)

Season at a glance: Koepka missed six weeks of action this spring while rehabbing a knee injury, but when he was healthy he remained among the world’s best. The four-time major champ got back into the winner’s circle in Phoenix and added a runner-up finish at the year’s first WGC event. But as always, Koepka saved some of his best golf for the biggest stages, finishing T-6 or better in each of the last three majors of 2021 including a runner-up finish behind Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship.

Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 27
World Ranking: 7
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018)
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 0-3-0 (0-2-0 foursomes, 0-1-0 singles)

Season at a glance: DeChambeau went down to the wire Sunday with Patrick Cantlay at the BMW Championship, where his 27-under total wasn’t enough to secure his third win of the season. He endured a turbulent summer, including close calls at Torrey Pines and TPC Southwind, and went nearly three straight months without a top-10 finish. But his performance at Caves Valley showed just how explosive his game can be, and now the Tour’s longest hitter will have a chance to turn some heads in front of a home crowd.

Justin Thomas

Age: 28
World Ranking: 6
Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018)
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 4-1-0 (2-0-0 fourballs, 1-1-0 foursomes, 1-0-0 singles)

Season at a glance: The high point for Thomas came at TPC Sawgrass, where he shot 64-68 over the weekend to win The Players. His results over the summer were solid but not spectacular, with just one missed cut and top-25 finishes at the Masters, U.S. Open and Olympics. He sprung back to life at The Northern Trust, finishing T-4 for his best result since his Players triumph. Thomas was a standout performer three years ago in Paris, leading the team in points won as a rookie.

Patrick Cantlay

Age: 29
World Ranking: 4
Ryder Cup appearances: Rookie
U.S. Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0

Season at a glance: Cantlay became the first three-time winner this season at the BMW, and he did so in memorable fashion. Needing to win the final qualifying event to have a chance at snagging the last automatic spot, Cantlay did just that by topping DeChambeau in a six-hole playoff to cap a week of red-hot putting. The victory edged him past Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth for the No. 6 spot and it means he’ll be bringing his icy demeanor with him to Wisconsin next month.

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