Yawn: Zach Johnson Will Reportedly Be Named Captain Of The 2023 US Ryder Cup Team
Meh. Nothing against ZJ but this pick doesn't do a lot for me. In theory, the pick really shouldn't matter all that much because the talent disparity between the US and Europe should be large enough for me to captain us to a win myself, but we can't be taking any chances here. By the time the 2023 Ryder Cup comes around, it'll have been thirty years since the Americans have won on European soil. 30!
I wrote back in September after Whistling Straits that a new era in Ryder Cup golf had begun, but that the Americans wouldn't be universally crowned until they got over the hurdle of winning in Europe. That opportunity obviously only comes once every 4 years, making this a massive Cup for the Americans in Italy in 2023. Do we really want the face of what could be a rousing historic road victory to be this guy right here?
And I really don't mean to shit on the guy. He's well respected in the game and is definitely qualified and capable to be a Ryder Cup captain at some point. He's a two-time major champion and won more on Tour than I think people realize (12x). Assistant captaincy has become the prerequisite for the head job (as it probably should) and he's put his time in over the last two Ryder Cups.
I just don't love ZJ being the captain for this Ryder Cup. What harm would there have been with running it back with Stricker? The guys clearly smashed the Europeans with him at the helm. Davis Love III got a 2nd bite at the apple in 2016 after the disaster at Medinah in 2012, so there's recent precedent for repeat captaincies.
Strick had a great career as a player but never quite got over the hump of winning a major championship. The win at Whistling Straits is already his crowning moment, but being the guy who oversaw the full turnaround of American Ryder Cup golf and ended the streak in Europe would have completely redefined what we think of the guy. He'd be the Joe Torre of golf. Great player, but not quite a Hall of Famer until you add in the coaching accomplishments. With the way the boys destroyed the lads last year, this should have been his job to give away.
And if Strick has given the "thanks but no thanks, I'm good with my one hurrah in my home state of Wisconsin" edict, then why wouldn't that next guy in line be Fred Couples? For years it should have been Freddie and he wanted it. There's this narrative that the boat has passed him by (and apparently it has) and he even acknowledged feeling like it already had back in 2017. He was passed over in 2016 when the committee reportedly balked at the idea of his laidback nature and took issue with a few minor indiscretions as an assistant in 2012.
But the resume is 1000% there. He did also serve as an assistant last year for the big W. Better yet, he's been the head guy at the President's Cup 3 times, leading the Americans to comfortable wins in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Given, those are all American teams with a sizable talent gap over their International counterparts but that lends to my point. The 2023 team is in the exact same scenario where the pressure is all on them. They'll need that type of leadership. They need a guy who won't micromanage the ridiculous amount of talent on the team and just let those guys go out and play. Plus he's beloved by peers and fans alike. The people love Boom Boom. Give the people what they want.
Again, no disrespect to Zach Johnson. I'm sure he'll do a great job and the Americans will rout the Europeans and all of this will be moot. But in the off chance that it doesn't, this selection will be the first thing questioned.