Philly Sports Live

Stricker and Johnson Secure Presidents Cup Spots

Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker have secured their places in the American team for next month’s Presidents Cup match against an International side at Muirfield Village in Ohio, with both players claiming automatic picks following strong showings at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

With American captain, Fred Couples, finalising his team for the competition, both Stricker and Johnson left it late to book their places in a strong USA side that will take on the International team next month over four days in Ohio.

In avoiding having to earn their places through the captain’s two wildcard picks, they perhaps strengthened the hosts’ chances in the eyes of those who bet on golf.

A delighted Stricker said: “It was a good week. I came here trying to get one of those last few spots on the team, knowing that I needed to play well.”

“I had texted Freddie earlier in the week. I didn’t want one of his spots as a pick, I wanted to make the team on my own. So I had great incentive, great motivation to play well this week. I’m excited to be part of another team and represent the USA at Muirfield.”

With his automatic selections now sorted, Couples has handed wildcard picks to 20-year old Jordan Spieth and former US Open champion, Webb Simpson – who narrowly lost out to Johnson in the race for an automatic spot at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Spieth is enjoying an impressive first full season on the PGA Tour that has yielded a victory, a play-off defeat, and one other runner-up finish, earning over $3m in 2013. Simpson, meanwhile, finished 11th in the qualifying table despite not winning a tournament since last year’s US Open, but the American has tasted the Presidents Cup before and he is an experienced match-play competitor.

While the Americans will go into the event as favourites in the golf betting odds, the International team will need to be taken seriously when the tournament gets underway.