Koepka, Johnson Play Practice Round Together With Ryder Cup In Mind

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Brooks Koepka says it was a matter of coincidence, but it was no less noteworthy when he played a practice round ahead of the British Open with Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson.

Koepka is with LIV Golf, and his only access to Ryder Cup points for the U.S. team this year are at the majors. He was runner-up at the Masters and won the PGA Championship. With double points for winner at majors, he now is No. 3 in the standings.

“We got to talk about it a little bit, just what’s going on, I guess how the team is shaping up,” Koepka said. “It’s interesting.”

Johnson was dancing around the topic at Oak Hill before Koepka went on to win the PGA Championship. The top six players automatically qualify for the American team, and qualifying ends in five weeks. Koepka isn’t a lock, but he can take a big step this week.

For the rest of the LIV players, the outlook is bleak.

Bryson DeChambeau is mathematically eliminated — even by winning the British Open, he would go only to No. 7 — and Patrick Reed might as well be eliminated. PGA Tour players still have a pair of $20 million events during the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Phil Mickelson could move as high as No. 4 and Dustin Johnson as high as No. 5, but that would require Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay missing the cut (and they still have those two playoff points).

Dustin Johnson might at least merit consideration as a captain’s pick.

Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler has become the first player to automatically secure a spot. He has a massive lead from his $19 million in earnings this year.

Koepka said his chat with Zach Johnson was largely about preparations and a lot of responsibilities the captain has.

“The PGA of America does a really good job in easing it for him, and just kind of talking about the preparation for it, what our team is going to do, where are we going to be, and just a little bit more about the shuffle of guys and the stuff they have kind of behind the scenes, stats, stuff like that,” he said. “It’s quite interesting just hearing about it all.”


The Solheim Cup is in Spain a week before the Ryder Cup, and the Americans already have three players who have clinched the seven automatic spots.

U.S. Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz earned a spot on her first team with her big win at Pebble Beach, followed by a runner-up finish last week in Ohio.

Nelly Korda and Chevron Championship winner Lilia Vu clinched their spots from their finishes two weeks ago at the Women’s Open. Vu has two wins this year.

Vu and Corpuz will be Solheim Cup rookies.

“The call to tell Lilia she’s on the team was easily one of the coolest things I’ve done so far during my time as captain,” U.S. captain Stacy Lewis said. “Getting to tell a first-timer that she’s on the team was pretty awesome.”

Solheim Cup qualifying for Americans ends on Aug. 28 with seven leading players. The next two available from the world ranking also make the team, and Lewis gets three picks.


Masters champion Jon Rahm made his British Open debut in 2016 at Royal Troon. The first links experience for the Spaniard came much sooner, and it was memorable.

He played in the British Boys Amateur at Royal St. George’s in 2009, and his father brought him over early. They played at nearby Royal Cinque Ports.

“I had driver in hand on every hole and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you might want to hit a 3-iron,’” Rahm said. “I’ll never forget, the first hole was playing downwind and I hit 3-iron and I saw that ball bounce once and twice and three, and just keep on going.

“I’m more used to seeing the ball bounce backwards and that’s it. It was a really fun day, really fun experience.”

Rahm thought he acquitted himself nicely, even though he didn’t win, and he feels as though he has performed well in links golf. His best finish is a tie for third two years ago at Royal St. George’s four shots behind Collin Morikawa.

“I think it’s — in my mind — golf at its purest state, no matter what the weather is,” Rahm said.


Scottie Scheffler is ready to see more of the world.

He has rarely played golf outside the PGA Tour, with his trips to Europe so far limited to the Scottish Open – currently co-sanctioned with the European tour – and the British Open.

Scheffler said he was ready for that to change, particularly while he and his wife, Meredith, don’t have kids.

“I feel like the position where I am in my life, that’s more likely than when you start a family and stuff like that,” the world’s top-ranked player said. “It’s a little bit easier for me to leave and travel now because my wife comes with me.”

Coming to play on the European tour in the fall next year appeals to Scheffler because the PGA Tour goes back to a calendar season that will end in August.

The only problem might be the time of the year. Scheffler grew up in Dallas (Cowboys) and graduated from Texas (Longhorns).

“That’s my time to be at home,” he said.


Collin Morikawa was polished with his words, as usual, when he won the claret jug at Royal St. George’s two years ago — except for that part where he referred to it as the British Open.

The R&A proudly calls it “The Open Championship.” British Open is an American term used for nearly a century, including by the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

“People gave me hate for it, so then I called it ‘The Open’ last year, but I played better when I called it the British Open, so I might call it the British Open,” Morikawa said.

Morikawa said the “British” refers to this part of Europe and then he paused and said with a laugh, “I’m not too good with this whole geography, world stuff.”

“I think people understand whether you say British Open or The Open,” he said. “At the end of the day, if you win it, you can call it whatever the hell you want.”


The prime group for Thursday afternoon is Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. The R&A isn’t in the habit of sending subtle messages with the groupings, like the USGA once did. Even so, it was hard to ignore that Xander Schauffele — one of the best players without a major — is with defending champion Cameron Smith and U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark. … The U.S. Open likes to call its Monday of 36-hole qualifying the “longest day in golf.” It covers three time zones. The longest day is actually Thursday and Friday at the British Open. The first tee time is 6:35 a.m. The last tee time is 4:16 p.m. That adds up to nearly 15 hours from start to finish.