Captain Harrington Improves The Chances Of Not Having To Make Sergio Garcia A Captain's Pick

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Oh, I know they’re best buddies now having bonded over 2018’s win and it’s silly to suggest the former rivals can’t stand each other.

Either way, you have to love Padraig Harrington’s vote of confidence in the best possible Ryder Cup players making the team on points for his 2020 turn.

Brian Keogh reports on Harrington’s wish list getting the green light from the European Tour committee. Now nine will make it on points and three will get a Captain’s nod.

“Having said that, I am pleased that the Tournament Committee agreed to the change of Wild Card numbers. I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change.”

And since Sergio seems unlikely to make it on points and everyone will demand he be on the team, this just chips away at the chances I’ll have to make that dreaded call welcoming him to my team.

Patrick Reed Assures Captain Stricker He Has His (Gulp) Back

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Rex Hoggard reports that new U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker has spoken to Patrick Reed and all has been handled with regards to the Masters champion.

“As far as he's concerned, and I am, too, it's been handled,” Stricker said. “He's apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He's like, ‘You know what, I've got your guys' back. I'm there for the team.’”

Yes he does! Wielding a large knife from behind if 2018 is any indication.

Stricker Named 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, Gets Choked Up Naming Jim Furyk An Assistant Captain

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Holy cow does this man get emotional! Ben Crenshaw is going to look like Patton after this captaincy.

Steve DiMeglio at Golfweek.com on player reaction to Stricker’s naming…emotional was the key word at his press conference and in Mexico City where players reacted to the “news”:

“I’m an emotional guy. I’m truly humbled,” Stricker said. “I’m very passionate about this competition. We want to win this more than ever.”

We noticed. First time Furyk’s name evoked such throat lumps when Stricker named him the first of 14 vice captains!

The biggest news out of Stricker’s first day?

All four captain’s picks will now happen at once, a change from the policy changed from the previous policy. Ryan Lavner reports for GolfChannel.com.

You can watch the full news conference here and see PGA president Suzy Whaley shut out of the questioning, mercifully continuing the trend of PGA presidents trying to get a share of the limelight only to be ignored by media.

Steve Stricker "Still Waiting On" 2020 Ryder Cup Decision

Steve Stricker’s still the overwhelming favorite to lead America in 2020 at Whistling Straits, but given that Jim Furyk was announced on January 11th, 2017 and Europe has already made Padraig Harrington their captain, could the PGA of America be considering another option? Did the task force reconvene to rethink the master plan? Or is there simply a better announcement date in mind?

Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge with Stricker’s comments and outlook for 2019, including this:

“I would love to be a part of it,” Stricker said Tuesday ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “It’d be a huge honor and being right there in my home state would be super cool. To try to bring the cup back right there would be a great opportunity if they give it to me, and that’s the part I’m still waiting on. It’s not up to me and hopefully I get the opportunity. It’d be fun.”

Euro: “We base our decisions on what the players who will be playing want, not on a circle of friendship"

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Juicy quote from a former European Ryder Cupper to Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch about team USA’s Task Force buddy pod system for captain selection.

The occasion? The inevitable naming of Steve Stricker as the 2020 USA captain in the coming months. Not that the Captain’s hit shots, but Stricker’s loyalty to the TF versus what’s best for the team will make his job tough.

The captain doesn’t hit a shot, but he decides who does and who gets on the plane. Furyk reserved a seat to Paris for Mickelson, his task force buddy who was out of form and played poorly. Like his two immediate predecessors, Stricker will be crowdsourced into the captaincy from a select group of pals and invariably will face the same questions about whether his decisions are based on merit or loyalty, on sense or sentiment.

Padraig Harrington's Ryder Cup Captaincy Begins Tuesday

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Press conferences will be most insightful and never dull the next two years!

The fun begins with an 8 am ET rollout from European Tour headquarters. Golf Channel will have live coverage.

Over/under on the number of times during his Captaincy that Padraig is asked if 2020 Ryder Cup venue Whistling Straits reminds him of Irish links?

450…ish?

Lee Westwood Not Ready For Full-Time Buggy Driving Duties Just Yet

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As the Europeans haven’t enough reason to be smug, it appears the normal captaincy cat fight is not in the cards.

That’s because Lee Westwood has taken his name out of the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy running, paving the way for Padraig Harrington to glide into a job he’ll be sensational at, assuming the Irishman does not tire of questions asking if 2020 host venue Whistling Straits reminds him of Ireland.

Ali Stafford reports for Sky Sports.

Lee Westwood Officially Pinpoints 2020 For Ryder Cup Captaincy

I'm not sure if this should make me feel old, but when World No. 66 Lee Westwood is throwing his PING cap into the ring for the 2020 Ryder Cup post, something feels slightly surreal. Or maybe it's that the Euros feel the need to start staking claims to their cashing out opportunity so far out? Either way, we have our speed in the race, who's going to try to catch Westwood from far back? Padraig?

Ewan Murray of The Guardian talks to Westwood about taking a big break heading into a busy stretch, with sights set on trying to navigate Whistling Straits in a buggy

Westwood can do little about that. Now 42 and based back in the United Kingdom – linked to the break-up of his marriage – he can map out a positive future. “I would like to go on a little bit longer,” Westwood says. “Two or three years, then think about the Ryder Cup captaincy. If I put my name in for the captaincy in four years’ time then I can think about the seniors after that.”