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Ryder Cup - Golf: How the USA could line up

After last year's record-breaking victory at Whistling Straits, the USA look to be building another strong team ahead of the trip to Italy for Ryder Cup 2023.

Having mulled over Europe's potential 12-man team, we are now taking a look at how the defending champions could line up at Marco Simone Golf Club.

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau were all part of that thumping victory at Whistling Straits, but the trio have since defected to LIV Golf and they will likely not be able to qualify for the Ryder Cup or earn a captain's pick.

The same applies to Patrick Reed, who last competed in the men's biennial competition in 2018, while Kevin Na and Talor Gooch's exits to LIV Golf mean they won't be part of the 12-man side.

What:

Ryder Cup 2023

Where:

Marco Simone Golf Club, Rome, Italy

When:

29th September 2023 - 1st October 2023

How to watch:

Sky Sports and bet365's Live Golf Tracker

Odds:

USA 8/15, Europe 15/8, Tie 12/1

Certainties

Even with the absences of Johnson, Koepka and DeChambeau, the USA will still head to Italy boasting a formidable team given the plethora of options at captain Zach Johnson's disposal.

Leading the way will be world number one Scottie Scheffler, who took 2.5 points from his three matches as a rookie in last year's Ryder Cup.

Since then, the American has won four PGA Tour titles - the last of those being the 2022 Masters - while he also made his Presidents Cup debut in this month's victory over the Internationals.

Scheffler is the reigning WGC Match Play champion, having gone one better than his runner-up finish in 2021, and the fact he has gone from the lowest-ranked golfer in the USA's Ryder Cup 2021 team to now the highest-ranked player in the world speaks volumes about his game.

Another two players guaranteed a place in Johnson's side are world number four Patrick Cantlay and world number five Xander Schauffele, who both made impressive performances as rookies at Whistling Straits.

Cantlay took 3.5 points from his four matches, while Schauffele contributed three points from four games, and the duo won both contests when paired together - beating Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick/Lee Westwood.

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The pair also starred at the 2022 Presidents Cup, as they won two of their three matches when teamed together before they both triumphed in their singles assignments.

Joining the trio will be Will Zalatoris, who broke his PGA Tour duck when winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship this year and only missed out on a Presidents Cup place due to injury.

The world number seven finished runner-up in two Majors in 2022, while he was also T6 at the Masters, and the only thing stopping him from making his Ryder Cup debut will be injury.

World number eight Justin Thomas is another shoo-in for this American side, with his overall win-loss-tie record from two Ryder Cups (2018 and 2021) reading 6-2-1.

The two-time Major champion was superb alongside Jordan Spieth at the Presidents Cup this month, as they won all four of their pairs matches, and this partnership makes the latter another certainty for selection.

After falling down the rankings, Spieth has rediscovered his best form over the past year and he is now back to 13th in the world. Barring another big loss of form, he should be in the team.

Collin Morikawa is also expected to be teeing it up at Marco Simone Golf Club, after he contributed 3.5 points from his four matches as a rookie last year.

The 25-year-old, ranked ninth in the world, is a two-time Major champion and he gained more match play experience at the Presidents Cup - winning two and losing one of his three games.

Possibles

It's difficult to really categorise American players in the possible section, as it seems quite clear-cut at the moment who will be selected, but a loss of form could impact when it comes to selection.

One player that is expected to make the team is world number 12 Sam Burns, who has won four times on the PGA Tour since May 2021, but his showing at the Presidents Cup has left slight doubts over his suitability to match play golf.

The 26-year-old played all five sessions but only managed to contribute one point in total via two halved matches, while he lost his other three games. Johnson was a vice-captain at the event and he will have noted this poor showing.

Tony Finau has really elevated his game over the past year and he is now a four-time PGA Tour winner, having landed the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July 2022.

Blessed with huge power, the 33-year-old has sharpened up his short-game and he is now a major force in the game. It's difficult to see how he misses out on a trip to Italy.

Max Homa recently defended his Fortinet Championship title to take his PGA Tour count to five and he is finally starting to get the credit he deserves, as he is now ranked 16th in the world.

The US ace won all four of his Presidents Cup matches on his debut, only finishing behind Spieth in the points standings, and he showed his affinity for match play golf in that event.

World number 15 Billy Horschel also impressed at the Presidents Cup and there is every chance he could make the Ryder Cup team for the first time next year, while rising star Cameron Young was also part of that winning team against the Internationals and his trajectory is pointing towards a trip to Italy.

Outsiders

It will be difficult to break into what is a strong 12-man team, but there is always a chance to catch the captain's eye and one player hoping to do that will be Keegan Bradley.

The 36-year-old has played in two Ryder Cups (2012 and 2014) and he has a decent overall record, winning four and losing three of his seven matches.

Sahith Theegala came close on several occasions to earning his maiden PGA Tour title as a rookie last season and, if he manages to kick on and get that first victory, he could come into Ryder Cup consideration.

The same can be said of Davis Riley, who is an exciting young talent and was close to winning a couple of tournaments, while Denny McCarthy enjoyed a very consistent season and a breakthrough victory on the US circuit would get him into the picture.

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