Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Five Junior Ryder Cup Alums to Compete in 2018 Ryder Cup

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau and Sergio Garcia played in either the Junior Ryder Cup or its Precursor Exhibition

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLA.) – When the 11th Junior Ryder Cup kicks off Sept. 24-25 at Disneyland Paris, the future stars of golf will be on display.

Captained by PGA Past President Allen Wronowski, the United States Team features the No. 1 ranked boys and girls players in North Carolina’s Akshay Bhatia and California’s Lucy Li, among a formidable lineup that includes all six U.S. girls ranked by Golfweek in the Top 20. Meanwhile, all six U.S. boys players are ranked among the Top 50, including five in the Top 20. As well, U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team Member Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tennessee, made the cut over the weekend at the Evian Championship, a major on the LPGA Tour, in France. She finished T-44. This is the second major she has played in and made the cut (2017 U.S. Women's Open, T-33).

Among the Junior Ryder Cup alumni are major champions, PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players, Ryder Cup Team Members and Solheim Cup Team Members including: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hunter Mahan, Tony Finau, Lexi Thompson, Alison Lee and Brittany Altomare of the United States; and Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia*, Nicolas Colsaerts, Suzann Pettersen, Emily Pedersen and Carlota Ciganda of Europe.

Several alums - Spieth, Thomas, Finau, McIlroy and Garcia* – will all compete in the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris, Sept. 28-30:
- Spieth has won three majors (2017 Open Championship, 2015 U.S. Open, 2015 Masters).
- Thomas won his first major last year (2017 PGA Championship).
- Finau had three Top 10 finishes in majors this year (2018 Masters, 2018 U.S. Open, 2018 Open Championship).
- McIlroy has captured four majors (2012 and 2014 PGA Championship, 2014 Open Championship, 2011 U.S. Open).

*Garcia also won his first major last year (2017 Masters). He played in an exhibition match in 1995, which served as a precursor to the Junior Ryder Cup.

Some comments by United States Junior Ryder Cup Team Alumni on their experiences over the years:

Justin Thomas: “Look at the accomplishments by the people who have played in it—and it’s not a shortage of players. Anytime you can be selected on a team to represent your country, that’s a pretty big deal to me and to a lot of people.”

Lexi Thompson: “Playing for your country is a big deal. It’s the biggest honor you will ever have…It’s a memory you will never forget.”

Jordan Spieth: “It was amazing. It was a huge goal. I thought about it at the time, like I think about the Ryder Cup now. It was a goal at the end of the season that you needed to do your work in the biggest events—you needed to play your best in the biggest events—to be able to be on that team and represent your country.”

Tony Finau: “I’m a great team player, first of all. I grew up playing team sports, and I know what it’s like to be on a team, and I also played on two Junior Ryder Cup teams…I can bring the best out of different guys playing with them, and them the same to me.”

The United States captured the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota, 15 1/2 to 8 1/2. A total of 10 players from the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Team are slated to be on NCAA Division I college golf rosters for the 2018-19 school year.

Meanwhile, 2016 U.S. Team Member Norman Xiong, who received the Jack Nicklaus Award as 2018 NCAA Division I National Player of the Year, recently turned professional.

For more information on the 11th Junior Ryder Cup, visit Junior.RyderCup.com.

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