BC-GLF--Ryder Cup,1st Ld-Writethru
Steve Stricker is going to his seventh straight Ryder Cup, this time in his home state of Wisconsin as the American captain.
Stricker officially was appointed Ryder Cup captain Wednesday morning in Milwaukee, an hour south of where the Americans will try to win back the Ryder Cup in 2020 at Whistling Straits.
Europe already has appointed Padraig Harrington as its captain.
Emotional at all 12 of his PGA Tour victories, Stricker fought back tears immediately when he started speaking.
“I’m very passionate about this competition,” Stricker said. “We want to win this more than ever. I want to help any way I can.”
The Americans are coming off another Ryder Cup loss to Europe last fall in France, and Europe has won seven of the last nine times.
Stricker is the first U.S. captain to have never won a major, part of the old formula for picking captains and a qualification that Europe has shown over the years to be irrelevant. He also is the first Ryder Cup captain who previously served as a Presidents Cup captain, leading the U.S. to a romp in New Jersey in 2017.
Not long ago, any American who agreed to be Presidents Cup captain was certain to end his hopes of being a Ryder Cup captain. That changed after the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, when a task force was formed and players were given more input in selecting captains and forming the team.
Now it’s about continuity, similar to a template Europe has used.
Stricker did play in his first Ryder Cup until he was 41, part of a rare U.S victory at Valhalla in 2008. That was the first of three straight Ryder Cups, and he spent the last three Ryder Cups as an assistant captain.
Stricker said Jim Furyk, the Ryder Cup captain in France, would be one of his four assistants and would have been even without a plan in place that immediate past captains become assistant captains at the next Ryder Cup.
The points system to earn one of eight automatic spots stays the same. For this year, points are available at the World Golf Championships and the majors, and points at all PGA Tour events are available starting next January at Kapalua.
The change was the captain’s picks. Because of the compact PGA Tour schedule, the qualifying will end after BMW Championship, the second of three playoff events, and then all four captain’s picks will be announced two days after the season-ending Tour Championship.