One thing Steve Stricker might be tasked with as the captain of the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup team is resolving the drama surrounding Patrick Reed and his teammates in the wake of the 2018 Ryder Cup. But Paul Azinger believes Stricker should stay out of it and let the players handle it.
“I think Steve would be real wise to not say anything and let the players figure it out for themselves,” the NBC Sports golf commentator and analyst said on a conference call on Wednesday. “He might be talking to guys who won’t be on the team because you need to play good golf in order to make it. He has to create an environment for them to be successful. It would be wise for him to stay out of it and let the players handle it.”
A 12-time PGA Tour winner, Stricker was officially named the 2020 Ryder Cup captain for the U.S. on Wednesday, and he has already addressed the situation surrounding Reed and his teammates. Reed told the New York Times he had no say in pairings and questioned the decision to split up him and Jordan Spieth. Brooks Koepka recently said Reed apologized to the team in a group text.
“As far as he’s concerned, and I am, too, it’s been handled,” Stricker told Golf Channel. “He’s apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He’s like, ‘You know what, I’ve got your guys’ back. I’m there for the team.’”
But Azinger, who will make his official debut with NBC this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec, believes that the 51-year-old Stricker is the right man to lead the Americans into Whistling Straits come 2020.
“He’s going to do a great job,” Azinger said. “He knows what’s been successful and what doesn’t work. He’s the right guy at the right time. I’m really glad he has the chance to be the Ryder Cup captain.”