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Ryder Cup 2018: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas lead eight automatic selections for United States team

August 12, 2018
2016 Ryder Cup - Previews

Streeter Lecka

ST. LOUIS — Brooks Koepka claimed more than the Wanamaker Trophy with his PGA Championship win on Sunday at Bellerive. The now three-time major champ finished as the top point getter for the 2018 United States Ryder Cup team.

Koepka, thanks to his wins at both the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens, was never in doubt as an automatic selection, but his performance in St. Louis solidified his standing atop the rankings. The other seven, which were finalized following the conclusion of the PGA on Sunday, are Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, the 2018 Players Championship winner being the last man in.

The final spot appeared up for grabs at the start of the week, but candidates such as Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut, while Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner didn't make a big enough move on the weekend to boost their standing. Meanwhile, Simpson, who held the eighth spot starting the tournament, turned in a steady performance, breaking par all four rounds to finish T-19. It will be Simpson's first Team USA appearance since the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Kopeka, Thomas, Johnson, Reed, Spieth and Fowler were part of last year's winning Presidents Cup squad, and all but Thomas were on hand at Hazeltine National for the Americans' first Ryder Cup victory since 2008.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk has four additional picks at his disposal. He will announce three of his selections after the Dell Technologies Championship, with the final slot filled at the BMW Championship's conclusion. Two of the nods are expected to go to Mickelson, who's been on every Ryder Cup team since 1995, and Tiger Woods, who finished runner-up at the PGA Championship. Woods will also serve as an assistant captain to Furyk.

Other wildcard possibilities include DeChambeau, who finished ninth in points, Finau, Kisner, Schauffele, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson. There's also the chance that Furyk rides the FedEx Cup Playoff's hot hand, similar to Ryan Moore's selection for the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2016.

This year's Ryder Cup begins on Sept. 28 at Le Golf National outside Paris. The Americans are the defending champs, but haven't won in Europe in 25 years.