The worst-kept secret in golf has finally been shared publicly: Steve Stricker is your 2020 United States Ryder Cup captain.
Stricker was introduced as such by the PGA of America during a news conference Wednesday morning in Milwaukee, and almost immediately was overwhelmed.
“I’m an emotional guy,” Stricker said, choked up in front of reporters at the Fiserv Forum. “Truly a dream come true. An honor to represent the PGA, the competition itself. Truly humbled, really humbled…by this opportunity. I’m very passionate about this competition.”
After announcing Stricker as captain, PGA of America president Suzy Whaley announced a key change to Stricker’s captain duties. The normal eight players ranked highest in the Ryder Cup standing will automatically qualify for the team. Then, just two days after the 2020 Tour Championship, Stricker will make all four captains picks at once.
It marks an interesting change from the past two Ryder Cups, in which three captains picks were made at once, and one more was made weeks later. Stricker will make those captains picks on Sept. 1, 2020, which will be three weeks prior to the week of the event at Whistling Straits. So yes, there will no longer be a jet-setting team of golfers — American or Euro — flying to a destination to begin the week.
“We have this time period where we can make those selections, get everybody on board, the same page, formalize our team, make pairings,” Stricker said. “I think it’s a good move.”
Stricker wasted no time in naming Jim Furyk, the 2018 Ryder Cup captain, as his first vice captain. Naming Furyk as a vice captain keeps with some of the consistent moves the American Ryder Cup team has made in the last half-decade. Stricker served as a vice captain for Furyk at the 2018 Cup in Paris.
“I don’t think we need to change much. Davis Love did an unbelievable job. Jim Furyk did an unbelievable job,” Stricker said later on Golf Channel. “We just got outplayed last year. That’s the bottom line.”
As a captain, Stricker will be opposite Irishman Padraig Harrington, who was named as the European captain in early January.