By: Kevin Cunningham August 30, 2023

Justin Thomas was selected for the US Ryder Cup team despite a poor season at the track.

Logan Whitton/Getty Images

Golf instructor Hank Haney, former coach of a certain Tiger Woods, hasn’t been shy about sharing his opinions since parting ways with the 15-time major champion many years ago, both on his social media channels and his eponymous one Golf Podcast.

And these opinions are often disputed. But this week he’s turning heads for many golf fans over the hottest debate in golf: the election of Justin Thomas to captain the US Ryder Cup team.

After captain Zach Johnson officially announced his picks Tuesday afternoon (Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Justin Thomas), Haney X (formerly known as Twitter) took to sharing his thoughts on the picks.

“It didn’t matter who Zach Johnson picked, the US team will be heavily favoured, but this pick confirms it’s the Boys Club.”

Haney’s tweet seemed to imply that the US team is ignoring on-track performance when making selections in favor of considerations of close personal relationships and camaraderie. The opinion found a range of supporters and critics, the latter being singled out by Colt Knost.

“But Europe is so successful in the Ryder Cup because of their team camaraderie! Or “Boys Club” as some call it!!”

While Haney didn’t name a specific player in his tweet, Thomas is the most obvious elephant in the room. While the two-time Major champion has been a fixture on the last two US Ryder Cup teams, he’s struggled on track this season. He didn’t win, only had three top 10 finishes and finished 71st in the FedEx Cup standings.

As a result, Thomas dropped back to 15th place in the US Ryder Cup standings. Despite this reality, Thomas was selected for the team over the players ahead of him in the standings, including Denny McCarthy (No. 14), Keegan Bradley (No. 11) and Cameron Young (No. 9).

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It turns out that in the latest episode of the “Hank Haney Podcast,” which aired last week ahead of the announcement of the captain’s pick, Haney laid out his reasons why the US captains should have dropped Thomas from the team.

“First of all, they love Justin because he’s their sidekick,” Haney argued. “You know what? I like Justin Thomas. I’m a big Justin Thomas fan. I think Justin Thomas is a great player, he’s won two big championships… Justin Thomas is one of my absolute favorites. He’s a gentleman. He is a great guy, but he doesn’t play well.”

While crediting Thomas’ resume and his impressive play in previous team events, Haney claims that the main reason Thomas was selected for the team is because he not only interacts with other players on the team but also with some of the other captain selections is close friends. like Spieth and Fowler.

Because of those friendships, Johnson and the US assistant captains overlooked Thomas’ biggest problems on the golf course, as he pointed out on the podcast.

“He didn’t make the FedEx Cup Playoffs! Come on, I mean really?” Haney said.

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Young was a particularly glaring omission considering he was in the top 10 in the US team standings. And he wasn’t just above Thomas. He also finished ahead of Morikawa, Fowler and Burns.

Johnson admitted during his Tuesday press conference that letting him off the team would be difficult.

“All my phone calls have been difficult. This is of course. That’s part of what I was warned about when it came to those and my vice-captains who have sat in this seat before,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Having to make these calls, especially Cam, kept me up at night [Young]. Phenomenal player, better person. He was nothing but class.”

The Ryder Cup officially starts on Friday 29th September at the Marco Simone in Rome, Italy.

Kevin Cunningham Editor

As Executive Producer for, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep running outside of our reporters’ and writers’ breaking news and service content, and works with the technology team to develop new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging experience for the website our audience.

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