The 2020 Ryder Cup captain’s kicked off the year-long countdown to what will be highly anticipated matches with a joint press conference. At rainy Whistling Straits, where lousy weather kept things largely indoors and will be a factor next year, it was clear who is a bit more assured where things stand: Captain Padraig Harrington, current holders of the Ryder Cup.
As Eamon Lynch notes for Golfweek, Captain Steve Stricker still sounded a bit tied to the “task force” and it’s (sometimes) successful, (sometimes) clubby ways.
Mickelson was also on that task force. So too was Woods. The last three U.S. captains have been drawn from that small circle, and the decisions they have made — particularly Furyk’s decision to pick Mickelson — creates a perception of an old boys’ network looking after its own. Are the captain’s decisions being crowdsourced? And is the captain compromised as a result?
Stricker didn’t do much to dispel that notion in his comments Tuesday.
Of greater concern may ultimately be a venue seemingly more favorable to the Europeans than normal. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jim Owczarski focused on the fairly revealing presser remarks. At least, by year-out standards.
“Here at Whistling Straits, this is a much more natural golf course,” Harrington said. “I'm interested to see down the road what Steve has in store but doesn't look like you can do a lot with this golf course. As much as it was obviously designed and built there, it looks like it's just in a natural setting all its life and it's going to present its way. Even the weather could be very changeable the week of the Ryder Cup next year.
“So in many ways, this is a golf course that is just going to test the players on its own merits.”
Even Stricker, whose presence will bring an even more passionate home-state fan base to an already charged atmosphere, couldn’t help but hope the weather in about a year is a tad bit different for his team.
“Yeah, it concerns us, when we look out, and I don't know if you brought this weather today or what, but hopefully we have nice, sunny 75-degree days next year at this time,” Stricker said looking out to the lake. “But yeah, you know, when you look out here, it has the feel of -- does it not, over there in Ireland…”
“It looks like an Irish day out there, yeah,” Harrington interjected with a smile.
On Golf Central, Isenhour and I were in agreement: Captain Stricker has delicate matters to resolve in the all-important course setup department: