Steve Stricker was named the U.S. Ryder Cup captain on Wednesday, becoming the first American to serve in the role despite never having won a major championship.
Stricker, 51, became the 29th U.S. captain for the matches to be played in his home state of Wisconsin next year at Whistling Straits.
“It’s truly an honor and I’m very humbled by this opportunity,” Stricker said after being named captain at a news conference. “I’m very passionate about this competition. Deep down I’m very competitive. We want to win this more than ever. I want to do all I can to help us win.”
Stricker’s appointment is no surprise, as he has been part of the past three Ryder Cups as a vice captain, was the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup captain and played in three Ryder Cups. He was also part of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force that was formed in 2014.
A 12-time winner on the PGA Tour who has added three more titles on the PGA Tour Champions, Stricker was victorious as captain at Liberty National two years ago and will become the first U.S. Ryder Cup captain to previously serve in the Presidents Cup role.
Stricker has a tough task, as the U.S. team has been mostly dominated in the competition, losing four of the past five, with the only victory coming at Hazeltine in 2016. The U.S was routed 17½ to 10½ in Paris in September.
The U.S. has gone to a system in which it is attempting to maintain continuity among players, assistants and captains from one year to the next. Stricker was an assistant in 2016, captained the 2017 Presidents Cup team, was an assistant last year and will be an assistant to captain Tiger Woods at this year’s Presidents Cup.
Stricker named Jim Furyk, the 2018 U.S. captain, as his first vice captain. Furyk served in the same role for Stricker during the 2017 Presidents Cup and has been involved in several other teams as an assistant.
Players will be able to start earning Ryder Cup points this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship. The World Golf Championship events, the Players Championship and the major championships will offer points in 2019.
Points will increase starting in January 2020, with the top eight players through the BMW Championship in August earning a spot on the team. Stricker will then make four at-large picks on Sept. 1, 2020, approximately three weeks prior to the competition.”We don’t lack the talent or the intensity,” Stricker said when asked about the poor U.S record over the past two decades. “They’ve just come up with some key putts. In Paris, I truly believe in that home-course advantage, the course really suited their players. And we just didn’t play well. They rolled with it. They made some of those key putts. At times we haven’t been able to do this.
“But this is a new Ryder Cup coming up. It stung again last year after winning at Hazeltine, but the guys are already fired up about trying to get it back.”As a player, Stricker is just 3-7-1 in three Ryder Cups.
padraig Harrington was named European captain last month. He played in six straight Ryder Cups from 1999 to 2010 and went 9-13-3 as a player before assisting with the past three European teams.