Controversy continues to plague the PGA Tour, but this time it has nothing to do with the merger of the tour with LIV Golf.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

It is about the 12-man U.S. Ryder Cup team, which will be at Marco Simone Country Club in Italy Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

There were six automatic qualifiers — Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harmon and Max Homa. Their selection is what the computer spits out about the top six American performers of the 2022-23 season, so there is no arguing that point.

Then there the six captain’s selections made by Zach Johnson, probably with input from his five vice captains: Stewart Cink, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.

The captain’s selections are: Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Colin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Morikawa definitely belongs on the team. It also could be argued that Burns does, too. The opinion here is that the other four are controversial.

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Koepka did not play on the PGA Tour this season, having left it June of 2022 to join the LIV Tour. Lots of people are holding that against him, which is why it is being said that he should not be on the PGA Tour’s United States Ryder Cup team. They are not questioning his skill and experience, which is why Johnson selected Koepka. It strictly is about the LIV-PGA politics, with valid arguments on both sides.

From this standpoint, you could lump Fowler, Spieth and Thomas into one basket. Fowler was out of it until he surged at the conclusion of the 2022-23 PGA season. Did he do enough to merit a captain’s selection? Apparently, the right people thought so.

Spieth and Thomas were extremely popular picks, and both have Ryder Cup history, mostly successful. As big a fan of Speith as this writer is, there is a question as to whether or not he belongs among the top 12 U.S. players — at least this season.

Then there is Thomas, who got the selection strictly because of his past record. He did not play well enough to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs. On that basis alone, he should not have made the team.

So, who would be inserted into the lineup of the final three? New England’s Keegan Bradley stands out with a tie for ninth in the FedExCup playoffs and two regular-season tournament championships. He should be in Italy.

Among other players who could object to being left out: Tony Finau, who won two regular season titles, plus Lucas Glover, who also won a pair of crowns. Both were in the top 20 at the FedExCup playoff final. Then there is Adam Schenk, who tied for ninth in the FedExCup finals.

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Of course, all of this might be purely speculation, since the U.S. has not won a Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993 at The Belfry in England.

The European roster is packed with players who have been successful on the PGA Tour. Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry are nine members of Europe’s well-known squad with lesser-known teammates Robert MacIntryre, Nicolai Hojgard and Ludvig Aberg.

If the U.S. takes one on the chin, there will be a nice consolation prize. Most certainly, they will be enjoying excellent Italian cuisine.

*****

Mickie Meggison of Spring Meadows captured the Maine Women’s Senior championship Sept. 12-13 at Waterville.

She posted a 76-85—161 to beat two second-place finishers by a shot.

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A total of four area players made the cut, but only two finished. Bambi Stevens of Turner Highlands (95-106-201) was 27th in a field of 100, which was reduced to 31 by the cut.

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The highlight of the upcoming week for Maine Golf is its Men’s Senior Amateur Sept. 19-20 at Northeast Harbor and Kebo Valley.

Maine Golf also has a Women’s Play Day scheduled Sept. 19 at Sugarloaf, while a Men’s Play Day is Sept. 22-23 at Penobscot Valley.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 11th season as Sun Journal golf columnist.

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