Following a plan put together by a Ryder Cup task force to ensure continuity in leadership, U.S. captain Steve Stricker on Monday named Zach Johnson and Davis Love III assistant captains for the 2020 Ryder Cup, scheduled to be held Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits.
Love is a two-time Ryder Cup captain (2012, ’16) and Johnson was an assistant captain in 2018. Johnson also was an assistant under captain Tiger Woods – as was Stricker – at last year’s Presidents Cup.
Stricker, of Madison, had previously named Jim Furyk an assistant captain. Furyk was captain of the 2018 Ryder Cup team.
“With the Ryder Cup, it’s important to surround yourself with quality individuals who you can lean on and who have the best interest of the team in mind,” Stricker said in a statement. “Jim and I have talked about this a lot in the last year and now we are happy to add two Ryder Cup veterans in Zach and Davis to the conversation with the goal of putting this team in a prime position to win.
“Both Zach and Davis share a passion to compete at the highest level and are strong communicators, which is important, especially when we’re in the heat of competition.”
Johnson, 44, a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, played on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams.
“It’s always an honor to be part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team,” he said. “In a domestic Ryder Cup, it’s important to defend ‘our turf,’ and to do so on behalf of Steve — in his home state at Whistling Straits — is a great opportunity for our team to make a statement.”
In additional to his two stints as Ryder Cup captain, the 56-year-old Love played in the matches six times and twice served as an assistant captain.
“Steve has been such a consistent presence on this team, both as a player and as a vice captain, and now it’s his time to lead.” Love said. “He has a terrific vision for what he wants our U.S. team to not only accomplish, but represent, all year long. I’m confident in the program he has in place and am anxious to get to work.”
After the U.S. lost the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in seven meetings in 2014, an 11-man task force was established in order to give the players a bigger voice and establish a line of succession for the captaincy in hopes that the Americans would reverse their fortunes in the biennial competition.
Stricker, Love and Furyk were members of the task force, as were Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and past captains Tom Lehman and Raymond Floyd, along with three PGA of America officials: then-vice president Paul Levy, then-CEO Pete Bevacqua and then-president Derek Sprague.
The U.S. cruised to a 17-11 victory in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Minnesota, but then were blown out, 17½ - 10½ in Paris in 2018.
The 2020 Ryder Cup is set to be played as originally scheduled, although the COVID-19 pandemic still could lead to a postponement. Seth Waugh, the current CEO of the PGA, suggested recently that the matches could be played without spectators, though that would be a last resort.
Last week, Padraig Harrington of Ireland, the European captain, let it slip in an interview with Sky Sports that he had asked England’s Luke Donald to serve as one of his assistant captains. Previously, Harrington had tabbed Robert Karlsson of Sweden as an assistant.
Donald was a member of four winning European Ryder Cup teams and served as one of Thomas Bjorn’s vice captains in 2018. Karlson played on two Ryder Cup teams.