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Justin Thomas misses cut at Open to endanger Ryder Cup hopes

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HOYLAKE, England — Justin Thomas wants to make U.S. team captain Zach Johnson’s job easy when it comes time to decide whether he will receive one of six captain’s choices to be on the Ryder Cup team that will compete against Europe in Italy later this summer.

But after Thomas missed the cut for the third time in a major this season, Johnson admitted he’s concerned about the former world No. 1 player’s form with just over two months left before the Ryder Cup, which will take place at Marco Simone Golf Club outside Rome on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Thomas carded an even-par 71 on Friday, which was 11 shots better than his opening-round 82. He posted an 11-over 81 in the second round of last month’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club and missed the cut with a 36-hole total of 14 over.

“Well, as a friend and roommate [this week], I’m concerned just because he’s my buddy and I know what he’s capable of and that sort of thing,” Johnson said Friday. “Yeah, obviously, he’s a stalwart in that event, right? I don’t know his record off the top of my head, but I know it’s pretty good.”

Thomas, a two-time major champion, has a 6-2-1 record in two previous Ryder Cup appearances. He has a 10-3-2 mark in three President Cups.

“Those kind of moments like that, he’s one of the best there is,” Johnson said. “Bottom line is this game is really hard. There’s going to be peaks. There’s going to be some valleys. Let’s hope whatever sort of non-peak he’s in, it’s short. I know he’s got a great team. I love his coaches. I love how he works.”

Thomas, who is ranked 20th in the world, came into the week at 75th in the FedEx Cup points standings. He’s in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in his career. He is 13th in Ryder Cup points. The top six in the standings on Aug. 20 automatically qualify for the team.

On Friday, Thomas joined the field for next week’s 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota.

“Obviously, I want to make the Ryder Cup more than anything,” Thomas said. “I’m probably honestly trying too hard to do it. It reminds me a lot of my first or second year on tour. I tried so hard to make that team for the first time. I’m in a very similar position.

“I’ve been trying to make it easy on Zach and get in the top six, but I seem to not want to do that with my golf. Have a couple events left to try to get in the playoffs and then make a little bit of a run and try to prove a point.”

Thomas isn’t the only U.S. Ryder Cup team hopeful in danger of missing the cut at The Open. With the projected cut at 3 over, Keegan Bradley (4 over), Collin Morikawa (4 over), Tony Finau (6 over) and Denny McCarthy (12 over) are in danger of not being around for the weekend.

LIV Golf League star Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0 in the last Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2021, had a 36-hole total of 13 over. Johnson was 35th in the Ryder Cup points standings and was considered a long shot to make the team.

Past Open Championship winners Francesco Molinari (6 over), Phil Mickelson (9 over) and John Daly (12 over) also won’t make the cut.

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