It’s been a week to forget for U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson, but it remains to be seen who will take over that role before the trip to Bethpage in 2025.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Team USA Chiefs after Zach Johnson and his team were comfortably beaten by their European rivals in Rome last week.
Winning the Ryder Cup on home soil is no easy task, but optimism was high within the American camp after the crushing defeat they suffered at Whistling Straits Stadium two years ago. Johnson was tasked with leading a star-studded US lineup to Italy, but things did not go as planned for the former Masters and Open champion.
Johnson’s decision-making has come under intense scrutiny throughout the week, especially after the visitors’ 4-0 defeat in the opening round four on Friday morning.
Since then, it has been an uphill battle for both Johnson and his team, who won just one session on their way to defeat. With the Week of Misery over, the Captain will now hand over command to return to American soil in 2025 in Bethpage Black.
It remains to be seen who will be given the opportunity to lead Team USA to victory, but here’s a look at five potential candidates the PGA of America could turn to.
Who better than the great Tiger Woods to lead the Americans to victory? The 82-time PGA Tour winner’s career has been put on hold in recent months, with Woods continuing to battle a number of fitness issues stemming from a February 2021 car crash.
So much so that the 15-time major champion has been forced to sit out the last two Ryder Cups, which could mean this is the perfect time to take on a non-playing role. With Bethpage still two years away, it would be surprising to see Woods’ playing abilities improve from what they already are.
After a dismal showing in Rome, there is no doubt that the Americans need a major rebound when they reclaim hosting duties for the 2025 World Cup, so is there a better man to inspire not just the team, but the nation as golf’s greatest figure of all time?
If Woods is saved for a later date, another name the United States could turn to in New York is Stuart Cink. Cink is no stranger to the Ryder Cup locker room, having represented his country at the event as a player on five occasions between 2002 and 2010.
He also has some leadership experience having worked alongside Johnson as one of his five deputies in Rome. Having been at the end of 2023 following a straightforward defeat to Marco Simone, Cink could prove the perfect man to rally the troops and head back to New York in a couple of years.
Candidate No. 3 is Matt Kuchar. Like those previously mentioned, Kuchar is a man with plenty of Ryder Cup experience as a player, having played for the US Stars and Stripes in four straight events between 2010 and 2016.
A year after his last appearance – and triumph – at Hazeltine, Kuchar has been promoted to the backroom staff as Jim Furyk, after being appointed vice-captain at Paris in 2018. Seven years after his last role, it is highly anticipated that he will finally take over. At some point in the future, Bethpage could prove to be the perfect place.
Another man who has proven to be a mainstay in the U.S. Ryder Cup buildup throughout 2010 is two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. The left-handed player appeared to end his association with the event last year, after opting to join the LIV Golf setup, leaving the PGA Tour behind.
However, a year later, it appears that LIV membership is no longer the limit for players wanting to represent the United States, after Brooks Koepka was called up to the team that lost in Rome this year. With relations expected to improve in the golf world over the coming months, Watson could prove a popular candidate for 2025.
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