Patrick Reed, 11th in the Ryder Cup standings and world No 19, is the highest-ranked player not be selected by captain Steve Stricker for Team USA; watch the Ryder Cup live from September 24-26 on Sky Sports
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 08/09/21 5:48pm
USA captain Steve Stricker revealed he was left losing sleep over the decision to leave Patrick Reed out of his Ryder Cup side.
Stricker announced Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth as the six wildcards to complete his line-up heading to Whistling Straits later this month, joining the six automatic qualifiers confirmed last month.
Reed has featured in the last three Ryder Cup teams, developing the nickname “Captain America” after top-scoring for Team USA in both the 2014 and 2016 contests, with the former Masters champion a notable absentee from this year’s squad.
The 31-year-old missed the first two FedExCup playoffs after a week-long hospital stay for bilateral pneumonia and only returned to competition at the Tour Championship last week, with Stricker electing against bringing him into his Wisconsin.
“Kind of lost sleep over that one,” Stricker said. “He’s a tremendous competitor. He brings a lot to match-play golf. His record here at The Ryder Cup is pretty darned good. It was just the uncertainty of his health and really the lack of play that led to our decision down the stretch.
“It was a very hard conversation. I called him first thing. He was my first call. I knew, you know, that it was going to be hard, but he took it like a true champion. I apologized many times to him and just wanted to make sure that he knew that it was a very difficult decision.
“He handled it like I said a champion and really took it well. Very disappointed, as you can imagine but he said all the right things and handled it very well.”
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Brooks Koepka was among the six automatic qualifiers for Stricker’s side, one of only three players surviving from Team USA’s Ryder Cup win in 2016, although remains a concern after withdrawing mid-tournament from the Tour Championship with a wrist injury.
“As far as Brooks [Koepka] goes, we’ve talked about if we have to replace Brooks but we’re not there yet,” Stricker added. “We’re focused on these 12 guys and moving forward with these 12 guys right now, and we’ll deal with that situation if it were to happen.”
The whole USA team are expected to play a practice round at Whistling Straits this weekend, with Stricker insistent that preparation will be key for his side to regain the trophy.
“I don’t know if that’s ever happened in any other previous Ryder Cup where we’ve been all able to assemble at the venue before it actually takes place,” Stricker said.
“My message from day one has been to try to out-prepare the other team, the European Team, and for me, it’s been that way throughout my career is just trying to prepare the best as I can when I go into events.
“Let’s get in as much practice as we can here. Maybe take a little bit of the stress of Ryder Cup week off our plates by getting our work done now, earlier than Ryder Cup week, and get some rest that week. I’m excited to see them all. We’ll go out, have a good time, get to learn the course a little bit.”
Watch the Ryder Cup live from September 24-26 live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Ryder Cup channel!