Meet half the team that will represent Team USA at the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits –

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker welcomed a half-dozen players to the Stars & Stripes fold Sunday night at the end of play at the BMW Championship. The tournament concluded the qualifying period for the U.S., with the top-six players in the points standings automatically earning a spot on the team that will face Europe, Sept. 24-26, at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin.

Five of the six – Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Thomas – already were assured spots on the team before the BMW Championship began. The sixth spot was secured by Patrick Cantlay, who beat DeChambeau in a 6-hole playoff Sunday to win the BMW Championship.

“I love the six guys we have right now,” Stricker told Golfweek. “I love what I’m seeing, a lot of the guys playing well late in the season, a lot of guys in form right now.”

Stricker will round out his squad by making six discretionary selections following play in the upcoming week’s Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

On the other side of the pond, nine players – four off the European points list and five off the World points list – will automatically make the team at the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sept. 12. Europe captain Padraig Harrington will make three discretionary picks following the tournament.

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Wisconsin native and Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker throws out the first pitch at a Brewers game in 2019 with a ball in one hand and the Ryder Cup in the other. (Photo: Michael McLoone/USA TODAY Sports)

On paper, Stricker’s automatics would make the U.S. the favorite, as all six are ranked in the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking; only Cantlay hasn’t won a major championship; and Johnson, Koepka and Thomas have reached No. 1 in the world.

In the air, the team could unload plenty of firepower on the massive course at Whistling Straits, as Johnson, DeChambeau, Koepka, Thomas and Cantlay are among the game’s longest players.

Closer to the ground, Morikawa is on the short list of the game’s best iron players, with Thomas in the discussion, as well. And the other four ain’t chopped liver.

On the experience side, only Morikawa and Cantlay have yet to play in the Ryder Cup.

Putting, on the other hand, doesn’t look to be a strength on paper. Then again, DeChambeau is in the top 35 on the PGA Tour in total putting and Cantlay just made 537 feet of putts to win the BMW Championship.

Stricker, who will go to The Tour Championship, said he will get together with the six automatics for input on the team the six captain’s picks and possible partnerships.

“I want to know what they are thinking,” Stricker said. “They’re out there living this every day and they know what’s going on and who’s playing well and who would be good fits as partners.

“I want to know where their heads are at.”

Get to know the players who will represent Team USA at the Ryder Cup.

Age: 24

World rank: 3

Career record: 5 PGA Tour titles, including the 2020 PGA Championship and 2021 British Open.

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

In just his second major, Morikawa showed one and all he rises to the occasion on the game’s biggest stages. In the 2020 PGA at TPC Harding Park, he overcame a stampede of contenders, delivering the Drive Heard Round the World when he got home in one at the par-4 16th with a 293-yard poke and then knocked in the 7-footer for eagle. He also held off Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm in winning the 2021 British Open at Royal St. George’s. He’s won at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village and captured a WGC title. Great ball-striker who is only kept back by a faltering putter from time to time.

Olympics: Golf-Mens

Collin Morikawa of the United States tees off on the first hole during the final round of the men’s individual stroke play of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Age: 37

World rank: 2

Career record: 24 PGA Tour titles, including the 2016 U.S. Open and 2020 Masters. Also has won 6 World Golf Championships events, second only to Tiger Woods’ 18.

Ryder Cup record: Appearances in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018. Overall record of 7-9-0.

Johnson hasn’t been his tour de force self in 2021, with only a victory on the European Tour added to his impressive resume after he won the FedEx Cup and four titles in 2020, including the Masters. His putter – well, a few putters – have baffled him all year and he’s rarely been able to generate any momentum. For weeks now he’s said he’s close. He got closer with a strong performance in the BMW Championship, finishing 20 under, and will defend his title in the FedEx Cup Playoffs finale in The Tour Championship. When he is on, very few can keep up with his power, touch, and demeanor.

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson looks on during a practice session ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, south-west of Paris on September 26, 2018. (Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP)

Age: 28

World rank: 5

Career record: 8 PGA Tour titles, including the 2020 U.S. Open.

Ryder Cup record: Made debut in 2018. Overall record of 0-3-0.

After bulking up heading into 2020, DeChambeau won three titles including the 2020 U.S. Open and 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational and registered 10 top-10s in 19 starts. Not only was his length stunning, but his putting and work around the greens was superb. Before his loss in a six-hole playoff against Patrick Cantlay in the BMW Championship, he’d been quiet on the course amidst a storm of controversy off the course the past five months, earning just two top-10s in 12 starts. He vows his tiff with Brooks Koepka will not hinder the USA’s chance in the Ryder Cup.

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson Dechambeau checks a yardage card during a practice session ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, south-west of Paris on September 25, 2018. (Photo by Franck Fife-AFP/Getty Images)

Age: 31

World rank: 9

Career record: 8 PGA Tour titles, including the 2017 U.S. Open, 2018 U.S. Open, 2018 PGA Championship and 2019 PGA Championship.

Ryder Cup record: Appearances in 2016 and 2018. Overall record of 4-3-1.

The major monster has 12 top-7 finishes in his last 16 major championships; he is the only player to win multiple majors in back-to-back years. While he can overpower any golf course, Koepka has seriously upgraded his chipping and putting. He has battled knee, hip, and neck injuries but he said they no longer pose a major problem. Nothing bothers him inside the ropes, a poise that will play well in the Ryder Cup.

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka tees off at the 1st during a Ryder Cup practice round at Le Golf National. (Photo: Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

Age: 28

World rank: 6

Career record: 14 PGA Tour titles, including the 2017 PGA Championship. Also has won two World Golf Championships events and the 2021 Players.

Ryder Cup record: Made debut in 2018. Overall record of 4-1-0.

Heading into 2021, Thomas had won 11 PGA Tour titles in four years, including the 2017 PGA Championship during a magical year in which he won five times and captured the FedEx Cup. But this year began with a few off-the-course issues the set him off kilter and he’s had just a few on-course bright spots, including victory in the Players. Putting has been a main culprit. He can flip the switch at any time and is an explosive player who can unleash birdie binges.

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United States golfer Justin Thomas reacts to the gallery during the Ryder Cup Friday morning matches at Le Golf National. (Photo: Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

Age: 29

World rank: 4

Career record: Five PGA Tour titles, including the 2019 and 2021 Memorial.

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

Cantlay became the only three-time winner in the super season with his victory in a six-hole playoff against Bryson DeChambeau in the BMW Championship, adding to his trophy case that included the 2020 Zozo Championship and 2021 Memorial. He has a classic swing that looks unhurried – mirroring his demeanor – but it packs quite a punch. Was 3-2-0 in the 2019 Presidents Cup, teaming well with Xander Schauffele for two wins. His length, accuracy and poise will go over well at Whistling Straits. And with his putter on a roll – he made 537 feet of putts in the BMW – that could be a lethal collection.

Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay reacts after defeating Bryson DeChambeau on the sixth playoff hole during the final round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club on August 29, 2021 in Owings Mills, Maryland. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)