Steve Stricker will be charged with the task of regaining the Ryder Cup after being named as the new captain for the United States team.
Striker will replace Jim Furyk at the helm of the American line-up and lead his side into battle at Whistling Straits—in his home state of Wisconsin—as they seek regain the Ryder Cup lost in a heavy 17.5-10.5 defeat to Europe at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.
The 51-year-old was among Furyk’s backroom team in the last defeat, but had been the winning captain of the United States team in the Presidents Cup in 2017 when they defeated their International opposition. In a job swap, Furyk will be one of Stricker’s vice-captains.
“Truly a dream come true, an honour to represent the PGA, the competition itself, truly humbled by this opportunity because I’m very passionate about this competition,” Stricker said at his press conference unveiling.
Close to tears at time during the interview, Stricker added: “Some people don’t think I’m very fiery about playing the game of golf, but deep down I’m very competitive. We want to win this more than ever and I’m here to help in any way.
“My biggest thing is I want to make sure all the players that make the team know what to expect from me and what I expect from them. While we were disappointed with the result in Paris, I am confident the setback will fuel our preparations for what will take place at Whistling Straits.”
Former world number two Stricker played in the Ryder Cup three times as a player but was only on the winning side in one of those—on his debut in 2008 when part of the American side which was victorious at Valhalla.
But his next two appearances ended in defeat as Europe regained the Ryder Cup in 2010 at Celtic Manor before winning on US soil at Medinah in 2012 after a memorable comeback in the Sunday singles. Stricker lost one-down to Martin Kaymer, who sunk the winning putt for Europe.
In total, Stricker collected just 3.5 points from the 11 games he played in the three Ryder Cup appearances.
Stricker’s opposite number at Whistling Straits will be Padraig Harrington, who has taken over the captaincy of the European team from Thomas Bjorn.
Tiger Woods, who Stricker had formed a partnership with in fourball and foursomes during those Ryder Cups, was part of the selection process and expressed his confidence in the new United States captain.
“He was the overwhelming choice by all of us on the committee,” said Woods. “We felt it was his time, and he was deserving of the role. What he has done as a leader in both the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup has been tremendous.
“We just thought that with his leadership, and the way the guys follow him, we thought he was the best choice as captain for 2020. The players were also unanimous in wanting Stricks as their team leader, and we felt the same way on the committee.
“Everyone knows what a nice guy he is, but beneath that exterior is a real fieriness and competitiveness, and he’s also one of the most detail-orientated guys out there.
“He’ll be well prepared and very understanding of the players and great at communicating with them. He’ll get their opinions, but he will put his foot down when he has to. That’s an important part of the job.”
European captain Harrington also tweeted his congratulations: “Congrats Steve, looking forward to your Wisconsin hospitality and a great match at Whistling Straits.”
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) February 20, 2019