Steve Stricker was anticipated to guide the U.S. Ryder Cup workforce at Whistling Straits. Given his Wisconsin roots, his profession revival and the respect he garners from across the golf world, he was lengthy a lock to captain the American squad in 2020.
And then 2020 turned 2021. Along the best way, 4 captain’s picks was six, a 50-year-old gained a significant and two of the potential workforce’s greatest stars continued to show up the warmth on a simmering feud.
Eventually, Stricker will lead an American squad of 12 in opposition to a European workforce of the identical measurement, Sept. 24-26 in Kohler, Wisconsin. He’ll achieve this in opposition to Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, who has his personal workforce to fret about, but who can’t be displeased over any potential U.S. discord.
It’s debatable how impactful a job captaincy has in a Ryder Cup end result. But there is no such thing as a query Stricker offers a heavy hand this go-around.
Primarily, he’s accountable for figuring out half the workforce. When he joined “Golf Central” earlier this week, Stricker famous that whereas Whistling Straits is a big-hitter’s park, he’ll strongly think about how effectively a participant is placing. “You gotta make putts in the Ryder Cup,” he stated.
What else will he research? Chemistry. “I’ll take a look at the six guys who make it on points and how can we pair up with those six guys well, and that will probably determine the next six,” Stricker stated.
Chemistry, not simply on the course, but additionally behind closed doorways. Of course, that pertains to Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, who’ve been needling one another for years and took their bickering to a brand new stage after a Golf Channel video went viral.
The captain has been paying consideration.
“It doesn’t make me happy when I see these guys going back and forth on social media. Two very competitive guys, two guys that want to play at the highest level,” Stricker stated, including that he’ll take cost of the state of affairs to make sure workforce stability.
“That’ll be up to me. That’ll be my job going forward, making sure that we all get along. I’m sure those two guys will be on the team, so it’ll be up to me to kind of pull them aside, hopefully get them together and make it good for everybody,” Stricker stated. “And that’s going to be the key, so that we can unite as a team and play well together as a team.”
And will Phil Mickelson be on that workforce, as he has been for everybody since 1995? The thought was comical till he gained the PGA Championship a couple of weeks in the past.
“We had talked after he won in Kiawah. He wanted to voice his concerns and desires going forward,” Stricker stated of a dialog with Mickelson. “I guess the best way – and I said this to him, too – you were 52nd [on the Ryder Cup points list] for a reason prior to the PGA and after the PGA you’re 16th for a reason.
Mickelson is currently 17th and didn’t compete in this week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree. He will be at Torrey Pines South next week, when he will try to win his second consecutive major title – his first U.S. Open – and complete the career Grand Slam.
Or, at least do enough to further impress Captain Stricker.
“We are all looking forward to seeing how and what he’s going to do going forward,” Stricker stated. “And if he continues his strong play, sure, he’s going to be a big consideration to make this team.”