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Zach Johnson has under two weeks before he names his six Ryder Cup picks and Justin Thomas is still very much under consideration for a plane ticket to Rome.
The malaise of Thomas, who has been the beating heart of Team USA since 2017, provides Johnson with his most intriguing call of all his wildcards ahead of the showdown at Marco Simone.
The former world No.1 and two-time major champion has a stellar 16-5-3 record across Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, but has missed five of his last nine cuts and narrowly missed out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
He shot two major rounds in the 80s this year and is perhaps relying on a show of good faith with Johnson if he is going to make the 12-man team.
Thomas is currently ranked 14th in the US standings and Johnson was asked about his communication with the 30-year-old ahead of his captain’s picks on August 29.
“When you have somebody of that talent and obviously that high of character, you don’t want to see him struggle,” Johnson told Golf magazine’s Subpar podcast.
“Forget about the Cup, I just want him to play good golf. When JT plays well, it’s good for everybody. He is certainly one of our assets on the PGA Tour.
“We’ve been communicating. I would hope that he understands, and he does—open lines.
“We’re going to keep the honesty train going, we’re going to leave it all out there. And I told him, I don’t know what’s in store, but obviously he’s still in consideration.
“He’s been a part of team USA since 2017, guys want to be around him, he’s great in the locker room, and obviously what he’s done inside the ropes in these Cups has been well documented. So his resume speaks for itself.
“At the same time, I also have to look at all the other factors involved. Whether it’s the golf course—horses-for-courses kind of thing—we’re kind of getting into that with the stats.
“All that data crunching, and then you have to look at form too. A lot of nuance and a lot of heavy weighted topics. He knows that he can call me anytime and we can have an open line of communication. He’s been fantastic.”
The top six players in the US standings after the BMW Championship make Johnson’s team automatically, while six more will be anxiously waiting on his selections two days after the conclusion of the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake.
And while Johnson would not give too much away concerning his captain’s picks, it is clear that Thomas’ failure to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs has not yet proved terminal to his ambitions of sealing a coveted pick.
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