The PGA Championship marks the end of the major season and now the excitement builds as the eyes of the golfing world shift to the Ryder Cup.
The completion of the PGA led to the first eight Americans securing their spots via the rankings system to represent their nation at Le Golf National in Paris between the 28th and 30th of September.
It will only be the second time the event is held in continental Europe and it looks to be a stern but exciting test for the best players in the world. The Americans currently stand as the slightest of favourites over the Europeans despite not having won in Europe since 1993.
However with a strong home support the Europeans will refuse to bend over to the Americans and it looks to once again to be an intriguing clash displaying the greatest rivalry in golf.
So let’s look at the top eight that have already secured their spots and can now book their flights to Paris, with the remaining four to be determined by Captain’s Picks over the coming weeks.
1. Brooks Koepka
Winning the PGA Championship last Sunday and ranked second in the world, Brooks Koepka will be one of the strongest players on his team despite it only being his second Cup.
Winning the US Open in June after completing the same feat the previous year he should be able to handle the tough conditions in Paris and after going 3-1 at this debut in 2016 Koepka is poised continue his hot form and be a leading points winner for the Americans.
2. Dustin Johnson
Number one in the world rankings and in the FedEx Cup, Johnson will be a leader within the American squad and a formidable opponent that the Europeans will have a tough time to match in September.
With two wins in his last six starts he is in outstanding form in the run up to his fourth Ryder Cup.
3. Justin Thomas
Ranked second in the FedEx Cup and third in the world, the 25-year-old will be making his debut in the Ryder Cup. With three wins this season, most recently two weeks ago at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational he looks to enter as a rookie in red hot form. With a 3-1-1 record at last year’s Presidents Cup, where he was a vital leader, don’t expect Thomas to enter his debut in the event quietly.
As the lone US Squad member to play earlier this year at the French Open on the European Tour held at the Ryder Cup site, Thomas should be comfortable and set to cause havoc for the Europeans come September.
4. Patrick Reed
A thorn in the side of the European squad in the past, Reed was this year’s Masters winner and currently stands 12th in the world. Known for his passion and performance in Ryder Cup’s he has a phenomenal past record of 6-1-1. His outstanding past play in this event points to Reed once again being a challenge for team Europe in his third Ryder Cup come September.
5. Bubba Watson
Currently ranked fifth in the FedEx Cup with 3 wins this season Bubba will be one of the veterans in the US squad at 39 years of age. Now playing in his fourth Ryder Cup he has had a poor Ryder Cup record of 3-8 in the past.
Watson has struggled in past months missing cuts including last week’s PGA so there are perhaps question marks on how Bubba will play in Paris. However if he regains form his length and creativity could prove troublesome for the Europeans.
6. Jordan Spieth
Having not won so far this season and currently ranked 40th in the FedEx Cup, Spieth is having a down year compared to his lofty standards. Struggling with swing issues that Spieth believes were resolved last week he could soon regain form that makes Spieth one of the best golfers in the world. Playing in his third Ryder Cup at only 25 years old he would be discounted by the Europeans only at their own peril.
7. Rickie Fowler
Ranked ninth in the world, Fowler has had a mediocre season by his standards with no wins and only four top-10s. However his steady game that shows with one of the lowest scoring averages on tour (69.53) will always be a test to the Europeans.
A fan-favourite everywhere he goes and now playing in his fourth Ryder Cup he will be a strong voice for the US Team and is sure to get the American supporters in Paris fired up.
8. Webb Simpson
The 2018 season has been somewhat of a resurgence for Simpson after a number of steady, if unspectacular years following his 2012 US Open victory. Winner of the Players Championship back in May, Webb is currently 12th in the FedEx Cup.
Going into his third Ryder Cup, after missing out in 2016, Simpson will look to make an impression as he once again gets a chance to play in the spotlight of the Ryder Cup.
As it stand the eight automatic qualifiers look to be a very strong side that will be a challenge for the Europeans to match in Paris. With the four wild card selections still to be picked over the coming weeks which will formalise the American squad, the eyes of the golfing world are looking forward to the duel in Paris and to the formation of the European squad before it all kicks off in September.