If the U.S. loses the Ryder Cup Sunday, it might be time to fire up another task force

September 29, 2018

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Brace yourselves, people: The U.S. Ryder Cup team is in grave danger of losing its seventh Ryder Cup in nine tries. Should that bit of madness materialize Sunday (and history says it will), gosh… what then? More handwringing, finger-pointing and scrutinizing, of course! Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine the scene at the next PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee meeting. To the minutes…

DATE: Nov. 17, 2018

TIME: 3:45 p.m.

LOCATION: PGA of America headquarters, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

ATTENDEES:

McKinsey & Company consultants: Bob Rodgers, Herb Knoppler

PGA of America officials: Paul Levy (Co-Chair), Seth Waugh (Co-Chair), Suzy Whaley (Co-Chair), Jim Richerson (secretary)

Former captains: Raymond Floyd (1989), Tom Lehman (2006), Davis Love III (2012), Jim Furyk (2018)

Players: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson

Wives and girlfriends: Amy Mickelson, Paulina Gretzky

Misc. others: Several unidentified Team USA swing coaches, TrackMan operators and masseuses

I. Meeting called to order

At 3:52 p.m. by Mr. Levy.

II. Review of previous minutes

Last month’s meeting minutes were approved. Mr. Levy added that the association is moving forward with plans to add Kit Kats to the snack machine in the second-floor break room.

III. New business

(a.) Phil Mickelson and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh called for a new-and-improved Ryder Cup Task Force (“TF2”), citing the U.S. team’s struggles at the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in October.

"Jim, we gotta talk."
“Jim, we gotta talk.”

Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Waugh proposed that Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler, management experts from McKinsey & Company, oversee the formation of TF2. Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Waugh said they very much appreciated the work the original Task Force has done since its founding in Dec. 4, 2014, which included successfully overseeing the winning 2016 U.S. team, but after what has become known as the “Pounding in Paris,” they identified a “pressing and immediate need” to reboot the committee and go in a different direction. The proposed changes would include but not be limited to:

i. Job cuts

Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler believe that the United States team could do far more with far less. For the 2020 Ryder Cup, they suggest sending only a two-man team to Whistling Straits comprised of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. [Mr. Mickelson began to challenge this recommendation, stating that he intended to play “10 or 11 more Ryder Cups” but then remembered that it was his idea to retain the services of Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler.] Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler said they respected the talents of the other Americans but that most of them lacked the “fierce intensity and freaky bulging eyes” required to excel in a Ryder Cup. They singled out Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka for “exhibiting about as much fire as a bucket of cold water.”

ii. Format change

Mr. Mickelson argued that it’s time to lobby the European Tour to mix up the format. He suggested replacing alternate-shot with corn hole, dodgeball or a few hands of pai gow. Mr. Fowler laughed. Mr. Mickelson said he wasn’t kidding.

iii. The captain dilemma

Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler said that that former-players-turned-captains are too close to their teams, which prevents them from making difficult decisions, such as benching their players after lackluster sessions. Choosing a captain from outside the golf community would eliminate this conflict. Among Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler’s proposed candidates are Jon Gruden, Tony Robbins and Chesley Sullenberger, popularly known as Captain Sully.

iv. Selfie ban

Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler are concerned that the pomp and circumstance around the matches is hurting the U.S. team. They said the “no-frills” Mr. Furyk did well to curtail some of the “grandiosity” seen in previous Ryder Cups but they are concerned about what they characterized as the “selfie-fest” that unfolded at the Palace of Versailles. This remark drew a cough from Ms. Gretzky. Promptly thereafter a selfie of Ms. Gretzky coughing appeared on her Instagram feed.

v. Chaos inside the ropes

Mr. Furyk posited that the preponderance of hangers-on inside the ropes at Le Golf National might have been a distraction to his team. He said he was ok with wives and girlfriends but troubled by the number of agents, statisticians, nutritionists, cousins, second cousins, sword-swallowers and mimes.

vi. MJ replacement

Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Knoppler noted that just as Michael Jordan had a hard time retiring from the Bulls, he also just “can’t seem to quit this Ryder Cup team.” They believe that whatever good mojo the bucket-hat-wearing basketball legend once brought to the team room has expired. They suggested Steph Curry as a replacement, “assuming he doesn’t qualify for the 2020 team.”

IV. Vote

At 5:31 p.m., TF2 was unanimously approved.

V. Meeting adjourned

Mr. Levy adjourned the meeting at 5:44 p.m. Everyone had a Kit Kat and went home.