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Will Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka get a Ryder Cup pick?

Will Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka get a Ryder Cup pick?

The considerations that decide Ryder Cup captains’ picks are as varied as the skippers making the calls, though no previous leader of Team USA ever had to check if potential picks are forcing other members of the squad to incur legal bills by fronting speculative litigation financed by a Middle Eastern despot. Such is the job Zach Johnson signed on for as he attempts to end America’s 30-year losing streak on foreign soil in September.

The only LIV players likely to factor in discussions about captains picks are Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, neither of whom was a plaintiff in LIV’s antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour nor even offered salty back chat about their former tour or colleagues (Patrick Reed could win the next three majors and still not be invited for a uniform fitting for fear he might sue the seamstress). That removes one possible impediment to a LIV golfer being chosen for the matches in Rome, but there are others.

Captain Johnson met with the media Wednesday at Oak Hill Country Club, where he’s competing in the 105th PGA Championship, and the attributes he stressed for his team did not seem at all random: camaraderie and chemistry. Those are freighted words these days, and cut to the core of the dilemma with including LIV players in the Ryder Cup.

Both Koepka and Johnson (D) are popular among their peers and would not be thought likely to impair the vibe in the team room (notwithstanding Koepka’s spat with the pseudo-scientist two years ago at Whistling Straits).

That resolves the practical considerations around chemistry and camaraderie. Now, about the philosophical angle …

The U.S. team in last year’s Presidents Cup was an impregnably tight-knit group, finally shorn of the jerk contingent that had roiled the back room for years. That’s what the task force was intended to create when it was formed almost a decade ago, after another of Phil Mickelson’s periodic rogue efforts to overthrow whatever powers that be. The task force goal was to establish consistency — in approach, in leadership, in commitment, in preparedness — and eliminate division and rancor.

Zach Johnson has been part of that process and remains surrounded by a trusted star chamber of previous captains, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker. How likely is he to venture off the path they paved to gamble on a couple of LIV guys? When pressed on whether he might spend one (or more) of his six picks thus, the skipper bobbed and weaved like a…


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