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One of Tiger Woods’ former coaches has branded the US Ryder Cup set-up a ‘Boys Club’ after captain Zach Johnson revealed his six picks for Rome yesterday.

Hank Haney, who worked with 15-time major champion Woods for six years between 2004 and 2010, took to social media after it was announced that Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Sam Burns, as well as Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa will complete the American side for next month’s match.

The decision to pick Thomas, in particular, has caused some consternation given the two-time major champion’s poor form this year. Despite that, he was picked ahead of Cameron Young, Lucas Glover and Keegan Bradley.

• Zach Johnson: Why I didn’t call LIV golfers

• Team USA Solheim Cup team confirmed

And whilst Haney still makes the US favourites to win at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, he wasn’t entirely impressed with Johnson’s picks.

“It didn’t matter who Zach Johnson picked, the USA team will be heavily favored,” he posted on social media. “But those picks confirm it’s the Boys Club.”

In a subsequent post, Haney shared a link to a podcast in which he expanded on his thoughts.

“I think Justin Thomas is a great guy,” he said on his Unfiltered podcast. “Justin Thomas is one my absolute favourites. I’ve been around him before. He’s a gentleman. He’s a great guy – but he isn’t playingany good.

“Look at his last four tournaments. Missed cut, tied for 60th, missed cut, missed cut. He didn’t make the FedEx Cup Playoffs and he tried like hell to make those. Come on! I mean, really?”

• Bob MacIntyre faces fight for Ryder Cup spot

Player-turned-commentator Colt Knost responded to Haney’s first tweet, saying: “But Europe is so successful in the Ryder Cup bc of their “team camaraderie!” Or “boys club” as some might call it!!”

However, one of the players who missed out on a place on the team at the expense of Thomas, hinted that there might be some truth in Haney’s observation.

Speaking to the Golf Channel, Keegan Bradley said: “I’ve always been an outsider in the sport but I have tried to get closer to the guys I thought would be on the team.

“I feel like moving forward I’m going to have to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup.”

The 2023 Ryder Cup takes place at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome from Septemeber 29 to October 1.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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