OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — PGA champion Brooks Koepka went from a remarkable feat of getting among the six automatic spots on the Ryder Cup to now needing a phone call from U.S. captain Zach Johnson.
Xander Schauffele did enough right Sunday in the BMW Championship that a bogey on the final hole didn’t cost him. He closed with a 2-under 68 at Olympia Fields and tied for eighth, giving him the sixth and final automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Koepka fell from No. 5 to No. 7, finishing 29 points behind Schauffele. Max Homa had been in the final spot and shot 68 to tie for fifth
The BMW Championship was the final qualifying tournament. After the Tour Championship next week, Johnson will get six captain’s picks.
Scottie Scheffler led the points list by such a margin that he had more points than the next two players behind him, U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark and British Open champion Brian Harman. They were followed by Patrick Cantlay, Homa and Schauffele.
Koepka left the PGA Tour for Saudi-backed LIV Golf last June and only had access to Ryder Cup points in the majors. He was a runner-up at the Masters and won the PGA Championship, with points counting double for winners of a major.
Schauffele finished with 9,450 points in 26 qualifying tournaments. Koepka had 9,421 points in 10 counting events.
Any other player who finished just outside qualifying, had won five majors and was 6-5-1 in his three Ryder Cup appearances would seem to be a lock. The wild card is Koepka being part of LIV Golf and its 48-man fields over 54 holes.
Since his victory in the PGA Championship, Koepka tied for 17th in the U.S. Open and tied for 64th in the British Open. At LIV Golf, he had only one finish in the top 10 in five events, and the last two he was near the bottom of the pack.
The last American who finished just outside automatic qualifying and was not picked was Bubba Watson for the 2016 matches at Hazeltine.
Schauffele at least doesn’t have to wait on a phone call. He was bypassed in the standings in favor of Tony Finau for the 2018 matches in France.
“You don’t really want to sit around and wait for the phone call,” Schauffele said. “Been on both sides of it. … I remember getting a call saying, ‘No’ and a call saying, ‘Yes.’ It’s nice to automatically qualify.”
Schauffele had no reason to worry. Captains typically take those who finish just short of the automatic spots, especially with his performance and natural partnership with Cantlay.
“I would hope that I would get picked. I think I’ve proven enough in those events, in the team rooms and with my golf that I can play in these team events and help a team win,” Schauffele said “You never know, though. Like I said, it’s nice to automatically qualify.”
Jordan Spieth, who has played in every Ryder Cup since 2014, narrowly made it to the Tour Championship. He finished at No. 8, followed by Cameron Young, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley and Sam Burns.
Rickie Fowler, who won the Rocket Mortgage this summer for his first win in five years, is at No. 13. Most of the attention is on Justin Thomas, who is No. 15 and did not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs (top 70) for the first time in his career. He also has a 6-2-1 record in the two Ryder Cups he has played.
Of the potential captain’s picks, seven will be at East Lake for one last audition. That includes Lucas Glover, who had won his previous two starts to reach No. 5 in the FedEx Cup. Glover finished at No. 16 in the Ryder Cup standings.