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Ryder Cup 2023: Brooks Koepka's PGA Championship victory boosts Team USA qualification hopes

Brooks Koepka second in US Ryder Cup standings after winning PGA Championship at Oak Hill; five-time major champion, now a member of LIV Golf, would "love" to play for US captain Zach Johnson - watch Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports from September 29-October 1

Brooks Koepka poses with the Wanamaker trophy after winning the PGA Championship
Image: Brooks Koepka's PGA Championship victory has boosted his hopes of playing in the Ryder Cup this September

Brooks Koepka made a statement to Team USA captain Zach Johnson and increased the likelihood of LIV participation at the Ryder Cup with his PGA Championship victory at Oak Hill.

Johnson said during the second major of the year that it was "premature" to discuss the prospect of LIV players featuring in his team for Rome this September, although now has that as a realistic prospect after Koepka's two-shot victory in Rochester on Sunday.

The 33-year-old cannot play in PGA Tour events since joining LIV last summer but remains eligible for the Ryder Cup as a member of the PGA of America, with the majors offering Koepka and players from the Saudi circuit the opportunity to earn qualification points.

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Watch the moment Koepka claimed a third PGA Championship title with a two-shot victory at Oak Hill

Koepka discussed the prospect of making a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance ahead of his latest major victory, saying he would love to represent Team USA, with the three-time PGA Championship winner having a plan to force his way into consideration.

"If you go second, first, first, first, it would be kind of tough not to (get a) pick, right?" Koepka said. "If you go handle business, I feel like I should be fine. I just play my best and see what happens from there, but I would love to play for him [Zach Johnson]."

Victory over Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland is his fifth major title and follows his runner-up finish at The Masters last month.

The two results have parachuted the former world No 1 to second in the US Ryder Cup qualification standings.

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Speaking ahead of his victory in Rochester, Koepka said he would love to play for Zach Johnson in the Ryder Cup

Scheffler holds a commanding lead at the top of the standings after winning six times on the PGA Tour over the last 16 months, with the world No 1 backing Koepka to feature for Team USA even if he misses out on automatic qualification.

"I don't care about tours or anything like that," Scheffler said. "I want to win the Ryder Cup. It's something we talked about last year when we finished, or I guess a year and a half ago now. We want to beat those guys in Europe. It's been a long time since we've beat them.

"Whoever the best 12 guys that make a complete team, it's different than individual tournaments. We want a team of guys that are going over there together to bring the Cup back home, and that's all I really care about."

Koepka is 1,537 points clear of third-placed Xander Schauffele. Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Young currently round off the top six with three months of the qualification campaign remaining.

Xander Schauffele, watches his drive off the third tee during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament, Sunday, April 16, 2023, in Hilton Head Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Image: Xander Schauffele sits third in the US Ryder Cup standings, behind Scottie Scheffler and Koepka

Players earn one point for every $1,000 made in a PGA Tour event and two points per $1,000 won at majors, with the top six players in the standings after the BMW Championship in August then automatically qualifying for Team USA.

Koepka and his LIV colleagues will only have two more event to impress and add to their points tally, next month's US Open and The 151st Open in July, with Johnson then naming six captain's picks after the Tour Championship ahead of the Ryder Cup taking place from September 29 to October 1.

"I think it's too premature, frankly irresponsible, to even have any sort of opinion about that [picking LIV players]," Johnson said after his final round in Rochester. "I think given where we are at right now, there's a lot of points out there, No 1.

Image: Johnson says it is too 'premature' to talk about LIV players possibly making his Ryder Cup team

"No 2, you have a bunch of elevated events. No 3, if you go back on history, there's names right now probably on both tours that we're not even mentioning that could have a chance given what's in front of us.

"I haven't even begun to discuss picks with anybody that I trust in my circle, specifically the vice-captains. I feel like it's irrelevant to even discuss."

What about Team Europe?

LIV members who resigned from the DP World Tour are ineligible to compete for Team Europe in the biennial contest, meaning the likes of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood - who all featured in the 2021 contest at Whistling Straits - will be unable to feature.

Jon Rahm remains top of both the European Points List and World Points List despite struggling to a tied-50th finish at Oak Hill, with the Spaniard's win at The Masters last month his sixth worldwide title in as many months.

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Rory McIlroy reflects on his finish of tied seventh at Oak Hill

Rory McIlroy closed the gap on the world No 2 in both standings after ending the week in tied-seventh, while Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Victor Perez moved about Yannik Paul into third spot on the European Points List after claiming a share of 12th in Rochester.

A runner-up finish at the PGA Championship for Viktor Hovland moved him up two places to third on the World Points List, with Tyrrell Hatton next in the standings after recovering from an opening-round 77 to end the week in tied-fifth.

Matt Fitzpatrick holds the final automatic qualification spot as things stand despite a missed cut in the second major of the year, with Justin Rose and Shane Lowry moving closer to the US Open champion after finishing tied-ninth and tied-12th respectively.

Image: Justin Rose is pushing for automatic selection for the Ryder Cup after a top-10 finish at the PGA Championship

Sepp Straka posted tied-seventh finish - his best performance in a major - to get closer to the qualification places, while a major top-20 for Tommy Fleetwood and a share of 40th from Adrian Meronk gave them more points in their push to feature for Team Europe.

The top three on the European Points List and the next available three on the World Points List after the Omega European Masters in September will automatically qualify, with Luke Donald then having six captain's picks to complete his side.

Watch the Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports Golf between from September 29 and October 1.

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