Steve Stricker has added two more vice captains to his Ryder Cup team.
Stricker, the U.S. Ryder Cup team captain, officially named Zach Johnson and Davis Love III as vice captains for the 2020 Ryder Cup on Monday. Jim Furyk was already named a vice captain, and Stricker is expected to announce one more before the event in September.
— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) May 11, 2020
“It’s important to surround yourself with quality individuals who you can lean on and who have the best interests of the team in mind,” Stricker said in a statement, via Golfweek. “Jim and I have talked about this a lot in the last year and now we are happy to add two Ryder Cup veterans in Zach and Davis to the conversation with the goal of putting this team in a prime position to win.
“Both Zach and Davis share a passion to compete at the highest level and are strong communicators, which is important, especially when we’re in the heat of competition.”
Both Love and Johnson have plenty of experience leading the United States. Love was the Ryder Cup captain in 2012 and 2016, both matches where the United States won, and was a vice captain in 2010 and 2018. He’s played in the biennial event six times. The 56-year-old has won on the PGA Tour 21 times, and has won one major championship.
Johnson has played on five Ryder Cup teams himself and was a vice captain in 2018. He was also a vice captain on last year’s Presidents Cup team with Tiger Woods. The Iowa native has 12 PGA Tour wins, including The Masters and the British Open.
“Steve has been such a consistent presence on this team, both as a player and as a vice captain, and now it’s his time to lead,” Love said in a statement, via Golfweek. “He has a terrific vision for what he wants our U.S. team to not only accomplish, but represent, all year long.
“I’m confident in the program he has in place and am anxious to get to work.”
Will the Ryder Cup even happen?
The Ryder Cup — a biennial competition between Team USA and Team Europe — is currently scheduled to take place from Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, could significantly change that.
The PGA Tour is set to resume play next month at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Texas, the first event back on its revised schedule. Three of the four major championships have already been rescheduled to later this year, while the British Open was canceled.
There were more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Monday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 80,000 deaths attributed to the virus. Wisconsin had more than 10,000 cases alone, more than half of which are in the Milwaukee area — which sits about an hour from Whistling Straits.
At least the first four Tour events on the revised schedule will take place without fans in attendance, something the Ryder Cup has been contemplating doing, too. That idea, though, doesn't sit well with everyone.
“A Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup,” Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked golfer in the world, said last month.
“It wouldn’t be a great spectacle. There’d be no atmosphere. So if it came to whether they had to choose between not playing the event or playing it without fans, I would say just delay it a year and play it in 2021.”
Regardless, Stricker and his team are going to prepare as if the Ryder Cup is taking place on schedule. And with the United States dropping eight of the last 12 to Europe, Johnson knows how important a win in Wisconsin would be.
“It’s a domestic Ryder Cup,” Johnson said, via Golfweek. “It’s important to defend our turf and to do so on behalf of Steve. In his home state at Whistling Straits is a great opportunity for our team to make a statement.”
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