Sepp Straka Hoping To 'Make A Push' For Ryder Cup Debut

The Austrian is hoping to make Luke Donald's European team after winning his second PGA Tour title

Sepp Straka hits an iron shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sepp Straka was born in Austria but grew up in America and now hopes to face his adopted homeland in the Ryder Cup after taking a huge step towards making Europe’s team.

Straka’s incredible nine-under final round 62 saw him triumph in the John Deere Classic by two shots from Americans Brendon Todd and Alex Smalley.

It was the 30-year-old’s second career win on the PGA Tour as he banked $1,332,000 to become the seventh highest European in the OWGR.

Luke Donald’s team for Rome will be comprised of the top three eligible players from the European points list, the top three eligible players from the world points list and six captain's picks. And Straka hopes he has got Donald’s attention after recovering from shooting an opening 73 which left him trailing by four shots coming into the final round at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

"You know, September is a few months away, and I'm glad my game is in good shape," Straka said on the Ryder Cup. "Hopefully I can make a push for that. At my best, I do feel like I can compete with anybody. Obviously the last three days I could have competed with just about anybody in the world.

“It's always great to be playing good golf towards the end of the season. Hopefully I can build off of this and just keep it going.”

Straka was born in Vienna, Austria, to an American mother and an Austrian father. His family later moved to Georgia in USA when Straka was aged 14. 

He reflected: “I used to say I'm 50% Austrian and 50% American. But a friend of mine who is Austrian, corrected me one day and said: ‘you are 100% Austrian, 100% American’.

“You can't really pick between the two. They're both part of my upbringing. I wouldn't change it for the world.”

Sepp Straka hits a drive

Straka represented Continental Europe at the 2023 Hero Cup in January

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Straka, who had an eagle and nine birdies in his first 14 holes on Sunday, stood in the 18th fairway, 181 yards and two strokes away from becoming the 13th PGA Tour player to record a sub-60 round, and just the fifth to secure a victory in the process.

But he pulled his approach into the water left of the green as he finished with a double-bogey six to open the door with a clubhouse target at 21-under-par with six groups still to finish.

Straka then headed to the range to prepare for a potential playoff but Todd three-putted the 16th and then failed to birdie the par 5 17th.

Straka, who had just 25 putts in the final round, admitted: “It's very stressful because at that point it's out of your hands.  When you are on the course, obviously you're really nervous, but you have control of the situation. 

“When you are just sitting there, you kind of feel helpless. Thankfully I didn't need that playoff.”

Victory meant Straka’s disappointing approach to the final green wasn’t costly.

He said: “I gave myself a lot of grace there because that was my only real bad shot of the day. I didn't dwell on it too much.”

The 30-year-old moves up to 18th in the FedEx Cup rankings to qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta at the end of next month.

He added: “One of the big goals is always to make it to Atlanta, and this is a big step towards that.”


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James Nursey

James Nursey is a freelance contributor to Golf Monthly after spending over 20 years as a sports reporter in newspapers. During a 17-year career with the Daily Mirror, he covered mainly football but reported from The Open annually and also covered a Ryder Cup and three US Opens. He counts a pre-tournament exclusive with Justin Rose at Merion in 2013 as one of his most memorable as the Englishman went on to win his first Major and later repeated much of the interview in his winner’s speech.  Now, after choosing to leave full-time work in newspapers, James, who is a keen single-figure player, is writing about golf more.  His favourite track is the Old Course after attending St Andrews University but has since played mainly at Edgbaston, where he is a long-time member. James’ golfing highlights include previously winning the club championship and scratch knock-out there. He is also an active member of the Association of Golf Writers and Press Golfing Society but his favourite round is playing the game with his young children. James is currently playing:  Driver: Ping G400 3 wood: Ping i20 Hybrid: Ping i20 Irons: Ping i500 4-SW Wedges: Ping Glide forged 50, 56 Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Ball: Titleist ProVIx