Steve Stricker has been named as the incoming USA Ryder Cup Captain for the 2020 contest at Whistling Straits - and he's already made a BIG change
The USA Ryder Cup Team took to social media to officially unveil Stricker as the 2020 Captain, who called the appointment 'an honour'.
"So honoured to be the 2020 U.S Ryder Cup Captain in my home state of Wisconsin," he said in the shared post. "Let's go try to win that cup back. Go USA"
"In our sport, there is no greater honour than to Captain the United States Ryder Cup team," he continued in his press conference.
“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.
“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.”
Changes to USA Ryder Cup Wildcard Picks
Stricker didn't waste any time in confirming that he's making a big change to the U.S Ryder Cup team selection process, deciding to abolish the separate, final Captain's pick, which was dubbed the 'Billy Horschel rule' back in 2014.
The rule came about because Horschel, who finished well outside qualification, finished second at TPC Boston, won the BMW Championship and then won again at the Tour Championship in 2014. The picks were made before the Tour Championship and therefore Horschel had been left out, so the rules were changed from 2016 onwards to allow a final pick to be made after the Tour Championship.
But not any more. After just two instances of that new rule (used to pick Ryan Moore in 2016 and Tony Finau in 2018), Stricker has decided to get rid of it, announcing he will make all four Captain's picks at the same time three weeks before the competition. Europe also make all four picks at the same time.
He said the reason was largely due to the change in scheduling of tournaments on the PGA Tour, which end earlier.
"Yeah, you know, with the change to the schedule, scheduling on the PGA TOUR, we have now a three-week period between when the Ryder Cups points end and The Ryder Cup itself," said Stricker.
"So we have this time period where we can, you know, make those selections, get everybody on board, the same page, formalize our team, work on the pairings and give our guys an opportunity to rest, get ready, get their games in shape if they need to, and then take part in The Ryder Cup.
"But I think it's a good move. We experienced where we waited on a pick last year and that, too, provides a few issues along the way, but now, I think we've formalized a really good system here, and it should be really good."
During his press conference, he announced outgoing Captain Jim Furyk as the first of his Vice Captain's.
Stricker on the course and being from Wisconsin
Stricker says it meant a lot to be named Captain for the event in his home state, and believes its going to be a great course for the Ryder Cup.
"it means a lot, it really does," he continued. "I grew up not far from here. Wisconsin is a tremendous sports state. They back their teams with passion. The Packers, the Bucks, the Brewers, Marquette, the Badgers. You know, every team, there's tremendous support for those teams.
"I expect nothing different here for The Ryder Cup or even more so, I've been at these PGAs the last few times here, the last two PGAs that were held at Whistling Straits, and they came out in full force, supported the event, and they support their own. So I'm excited to be here.
"I think it's a great course for this competition. It provides, well, great scenery, first of all. You feel like you're not even in Wisconsin when you're out there at Whistling Straits. It looks like an ocean out there, not one of the Great Lakes. But truly a magnificent-looking course.
"It's a Pete Dye Course, so it's challenging to the eye. There's holes that are real legitimate birdie holes, and then there are some holes that you've really got to suck it up and make -- pars are going to be good. So I think that's going to lend itself to a good match-play course."
As for strategy, Stricker said they will definitely have a look at the course to see what they can do.
"we'll always take a look. We can't really take a look now because there's a lot of snow on the ground, but we'll go up when the snow leaves in the springtime and take a look at it.
"I haven't been there for quite a few years, but I'm sure we'll look back at some of the past Ryder Cup courses and what's been favorable for the U.S. Team and try to plan according to that."
Stricker has already been a President's Cup Captain
Given his credentials, Stricker is more than qualified for the job. He served as the 2017 Presidents Cup Captain during the 19-11 victory over Nick Price’s team in New Jersey, and was an assistant captain to both Davis Love III and Jim Furyk during the last two Ryder Cup outings.
He’ll also get a good look at the potential 2020 team when he joins Fred Couples and Zach Johnson as Tiger Woods’ assistant Captain for the 2019 Presidents Cup.
As a player, Stricker appeared on three Ryder Cup teams and five Presidents Cup teams.
Padraig Harrington was named as the European Ryder Cup Captain last month for the 2020 contest.