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Team USA captain Zach Johnson has hinted that he did not notify LIV golfers over their Ryder Cup snub because they were too far down in the standings.

Johnson has announced Brooks Koepka as the sole LIV golfer on his 12-man American team to take on the Europeans at Marco Simone next month.

The US skipper named Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Rickie Fowler as his six wildcards to complete his side for the dust-up at Marco Simone.

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“A lot of time, lot of energy has gone into this process,” Johnson said. “I’m very confident in these six. That confidence comes from simply surrounding myself with great people.”

LIV players Bryson DeChambeau and Talor Gooch had both been talked up as wildcard options but Johnson has looked elsewhere.

DeChambeau, 54th in the standings, staked his claim by shooting a 13-under 58 to win LIV Golf Greenbrier, while Gooch has won three events on the Saudi-backed series this season.

Dustin Johnson, who was 40th, won all five matches in the 19-9 demolition at Whistling Straits in 2021 but would have been a surprise outsider pick.

And when asked about whether he had reached out to his namesake and other LIV golfers over his decision, Johnson clarified that he only called players who were circa top-25 in the US standings.

“I called the gentlemen that were in the fold on making the team in points,” Johnson said.

“You’d have to go down the list – I don’t remember my last phone call on the list, but it was probably in the top 22-25 range on guys that earned points.”

Johnson added: “The way I see it, all the guys that do not play on the PGA Tour had an opportunity to earn their way, or at least be in the realm of complete discussion, and Brooks Koepka put himself in that position with his play.”

Johnson had been lukewarm on the prospect of LIV players throughout his tenure, but spoke glowingly of Koepka after the five-time major champion’s inclusion in his team.

“When it came to BK, his experience, his temperament, the way he goes about his work, his passion for the Ryder Cup all spoke volumes,” he said.

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“He and I have communicated a lot over the last couple of months, we’ve had great discussions, very candid discussions. When he started to really make his way on to this team, it was a pretty easy pick.

“Brooks is great in the team room and great inside the ropes. These guys wanted him, I wanted him, he’s a very natural fit.”

Cameron Young and Keegan Bradley will count themselves unfortunate that they did not make the cut given their strong performances this season.

The resurgent Bradley won the Travelers Championship in June, while Young lost to debutant Burns in the WGC-Dell Matchplay final earlier this year, a result that now looks crucial.

“All of my phone calls were difficult, it’s part of what I was warned about,” Johnson said when asked about the omission of Young.

“It did keep me up at night, specifically Cam Young. He was all class. All of those phone calls were difficult.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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