Zach Johnson, a two-time major champion, will be taking over as Ryder Cup Captain. He is leading an American team that aims to end 30 years of inaction on European soil.
Three people who knew the decision were able to confirm the move to The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity, as the PGA of America has not yet announced Johnson’s selection.
To announce the new captain, the PGA has scheduled a news conference Monday morning.
This is not surprising. Johnson, 45, was an assistant captain in each of the previous matches. The U.S. team is now looking for captains with prior involvement.
Marco Simone will be in Italy for the 2023 matches. They are coming off their biggest Ryder Cup win, which saw them beat Europe 19-9 at Whistling Strits in September. Steve Stricker, a native Wisconsinian, was the captain.
Stricker was part of a Ryder Cup committee, which consisted of three PGA Tour players as well as three PGA of America executives. They selected the next captain.
Europe is yet to name its next captain. This has been slowened by some candidates considering joining a Saudi-funded league.
When Tony Finau was asked at Riviera last week if he could see Johnson as Ryder Cup captain he gave his endorsement, describing him as a “great leader”.
Finau stated, “He’s a cool mix of the older generational players and a person who has a new generational perspective on the game.” He’s experienced both. He has a great view of the game and team atmosphere.
Johnson participated in five Ryder Cups. This was part of a difficult career that started with him driving the country on mini-tours from college. It now includes 12 wins in the PGA Tour including the Masters in 2007, and the British Open 2015 at St. Andrews.
He was once a “normal guy” from Cedar Rapids in Iowa. After becoming a member of Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, he became the only player to win at Augusta National.
Xander Schauffele, reminiscing on Johnson’s time at Whistling Straits said that Johnson was not a competitive assistant captain but was still lighthearted.
Johnson’s playing career was an insight into Johnson’s potential as a captain.
Schauffele stated, “You look at the game and see what he has accomplished.” He’s shorter than the average old-school guy. Chip out and keep your wedges close to the hole. This will help you putt well when you are in trouble. This type of player is meticulous and disciplined. He is a result of that. He has a lot to fight for.
“I can feel the importance of everything to him and his desire to win.”
The Ryder Cup has been won only four times by the Americans in the 13 years that have passed. Their last win away from home was at The Belfry in England in 1993.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 matches to be delayed one year, the Ryder Cup was moved back to odd-numbered seasons. Whistling Straits was a popular band, but due to travel restrictions they were overwhelming Americans.