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The Ryder Cup is now just two months away and the make-up of each team is looking clearer ahead of the showdown in Rome.

Captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald do not have long to decide on their six wildcard picks for what should be an epic battle at the Marco Simone Golf Club from September 29 – October 1.

American players have until the end of BMW Championship on August 20 – the second FedEx Cup playoff event – to secure their automatic place on the points list, while the European race will conclude on September 3.

• Which Ryder Cup team has the most wins?

• 11 players who could make Ryder Cup debut

The top three players on the World points list and European points list will make Donald’s team, while six others will be relying on captain’s picks.

Here’s a look at how things currently stand, just 60 days out from the clash…

Team Europe

Locks 

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose.

It has long since been recognised that there are eight locks for captain Donald’s European side. McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland are set to spearhead the team, with big impacts also needed from the three best performing Englishmen in Hatton, Fleetwood and Fitzpatrick. Lowry is made for the Ryder Cup and Rose brings the experience that Donald is otherwise lacking in his team.

Looking good

Sepp Straka

Form can be as important as experience in this battle and no potential rookie is playing better than Straka. The Austrian followed up his recent win at the John Deere classic with a T2 finish at The Open.

Adrian Meronk

Meronk’s pedigree as a winner of three national opens in the last 12 months should be enough to see him picked. Most importantly, he won the Italian Open at Marco Simone back in May so Donald knows he is suited to thrive at Marco Simone.

Robert MacIntyre

As things stand, MacIntyre currently makes it in automatically via third place on the European points list, though that place is precarious. He still has plenty of work to do, but his incredible closing birdie before losing out to McIlroy at the Genesis Scottish Open was proof he can shine under the most intense pressure.

• Larrazabal: Donald knows I’m one victory away

• Coach backs Harrington’s Ryder Cup bid

On the bubble

Padraig Harrington

Harrington himself acknowledged that his performances in senior events should not influence Donald’s thinking but his defeat in a playoff in the Senior Open was still a blow. He perhaps needs a victory on the DP World Tour to ensure a remarkable wildcard pick.

Alex Noren

Noren has been inconsistent this year but he is hitting form at the right time, backing up a top-25 in The Open with a T13 finish at the 3M Open. The Swede’s Ryder Cup experience could work in his favour.

Pablo Larrazabal 

Larrazabal recently told bunkered.co.uk of the pressure he has felt being on the Ryder Cup radar ever since his two DP World Tour victories that burst him into contention earlier this year. He has missed his last three cuts and is heading in the wrong direction in the standings.

Team USA

Locks

Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young.

The make-up of Johnson’s team became a lot clearer last week when his vice-captain Fred Couples revealed that three players not in the automatic qualifying places were certainties to compete. On his show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Couples confirmed that Homa, Spieth, and Young would all be teeing it up in Rome.

Johnson also has world no.1 Scottie Scheffler and three major champions in Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman and Brooks Koepka in his top six in the current standings. Scheffler’s place is already secured and the trio of major winners are nailed on to play. Close friends Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are also now prolific for USA in the team format.

Looking good

Rickie Fowler

Fowler may not be in the automatic standings but he will surely tee it up in Rome. He is playing some of the best golf of his career and his confidence his sky-high after his recent win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. A fifth Ryder Cup appearance beckons.

Keegan Bradley

Bradley may have missed the cut in The Open but his recent victory at the Travelers Championship provided a huge boost to his chances. He has a 4-3-0 record in Ryder Cups and is currently 10th in the US standings.

On the bubble

Justin Thomas

Thomas will rely on a bold show of faith from his skipper if he does not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs via the Wyndham Championship this week. He needs a strong finish or he is in serious trouble of missing out.

Collin Morikawa 

Morikawa missed the cut in the final major of the year but does not have a victory like Bradley to fall back on. He surely must shine in the FedEx Cup playoffs to ensure he is on Johnson’s team.

Tony Finau 

Finau has a solid record in the last two Ryder Cups but he is currently 19th in the standings. He finished in a tie for seventh in his 3M Open defence last week in Minnesota to boost his hopes.


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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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