Ryder Cup 2023: Euro Captain Henrik Stenson names Thomas Bjorn as his first vice captain

Bjorn was the winning captain for Team Europe in 2018 in France.

Henrik Stenson will have at least one experienced, victorious Ryder Cup captain by his side in Italy next year.

The 2023 European Ryder Cup captain announced on Wednesday that Thomas Bjorn will serves as his first vice captain at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from Sept. 30-Oct 1, 2023.

“I have known Thomas for my whole career,” said Stenson in a press release. “I trust him implicitly and I know any advice he will give me will be honest and direct. He will not simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear and that will be important, so I’m delighted to have him as my first vice captain for Rome.”

Bjørn, a 51-year-old native of Denmark and 15-time winner on the DP World Tour, has been involved in Team Europe in eight previous editions of the biennial contest – three as a player, four as a vice captain and as the victorious captain in Paris in 2018.

“He was very happy when I asked him. He was very honored to be asked and happy to be part of Team Europe again and part of the journey with the players,” Stenson said. “Since the match itself is still over a year away, I know I am going to have a lot of conversations with him about all elements of the Ryder Cup from his experience, both as a vice captain on previous occasions but also, obviously, as the captain in 2018 when we had a great result. I will be depending on him a lot and I’m really looking forward to those chats.”

Stenson was one of Bjørn’s 12 players in that successful team at Le Golf National and the Swede has confirmed his fellow Scandinavian as his first official appointment since he was unveiled as European Captain on March 15.

“I’m delighted to be part of the whole Ryder Cup experience once again. I probably thought that after 2018 that was it for me, but Henrik called me to talk about captaincy in general and that led into him asking me if I wanted to do another stint as vice captain, which I agreed to,” Bjorn said. “I think I can help Henrik outline what he wants to do with his captaincy going forwards. I can keep asking him the right questions and reminding him of things that are going to come his way that he might not have thought about. I will help him prepare in the best possible way and as we get closer to the match, to be an additional support to the players.

“I think Henrik will be a fantastic captain. He is so well respected by players and by everyone in the game. He is a very hard-working golfer and somebody who is true to himself, and his team will represent that. He has a great sense of humor that the players will take to, and he is very well liked across the whole Tour, not just the top where he has played his golf for so many years.”

Henrik Stenson
Team Europe’s Henrik Stenson celebrates after winning the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France in 2018. (Photo: David Davies/PA Wire)

Bjørn became the first Dane to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup in 1997 at Valderrama. He is no stranger to being a part of Team Europe’s backroom, having served on four previous occasions: to Bernhard Langer at Oakland Hills in 2004, then Colin Montgomerie at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010, José María Olazábal at Medinah in 2012 and Darren Clarke in 2016 at Hazeltine National, which was his lone experience with defeat.

Bjørn oversaw a dominant 17½-10½ victory in France, with Stenson contributing three points from his three matches as Europe extended its unbeaten home record to six consecutive editions dating back to Bjørn’s debut in 1997.

Team Europe will be seeking to regain the Ryder Cup against the United States team which will be led by Zach Johnson, who has named Steve Stricker, the victorious 2020 U.S. Captain, as his own first vice captain.

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Shane Ryan’s book “The Cup They Couldn’t Lose” tackles the great Ryder Cup mystery: why Europe kept winning and how America got its groove back at Whistling Straits?

Author Shane Ryan provides the definitive explanation for the European renaissance in the Ryder Cup and how America got its groove back.

No offense to the many other accounts of the Ryder Cup through the years, but “The Cup They Couldn’t Lose: America, the Ryder Cup and the Long Road to Whistling Straits (Hachette, $29),” provides the definitive explanation for the European renaissance in the Ryder Cup and how America got its groove back.

Heading to Whistling Straits last September, the great mystery of the Ryder Cup had been that America routinely lost despite having the superior team. “You know, if I could put my finger on it, we would have changed this bleep a long time ago,” said losing 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk.

That quote from the prologue perfectly encompasses what Ryan sets out to do in the 289 pages that follow. He puts more than a finger on it; he diagnoses what he terms “the 40-year disease” in astounding detail, artfully piecing together the history of this biennial match-play event pitting teams of 12 players each from the United States versus initially, Great Britain and Ireland, and since 1979, players from throughout Europe.

The section on England’s Tony Jacklin, who established a template that has been passed down from one European captain to the next, alone is worth the price of the book, and included this description of Lanny Wadkins that should be added to his Hall of Fame plaque: “Wadkins was the cockiest son of a bitch you ever met in 10 lifetimes. He was an arrogant bastard, But in the nicest way.” Jacklin served as captain for four Cups spanning from 1983-1989, and you could argue the Euros are still running much of Jacklin’s playbook.

“If 1983 had been the warning shot, and 1985 had proved that the Europeans were a winning team, at least at home, 1987 was the victory that transformed the Ryder Cup forever,” Ryan writes in emphasizing Jacklin’s importance.

Ryan tabs the period from 1983-1999 the golden age of the Ryder Cup when all but one match was decided by two points or less. It’s during this period that Team USA had its head in the sand as to why it continued to struggle despite often being the favorite.

“They adhered to the mindset that a Ryder Cup among equal talents is essentially random, that sometimes they would play better, and sometimes the Europeans would, but all thoughts of strategy or team building were blown out of proportion. Call it arrogance, complacency, or lack of imagination, but they stuck to this belief even as the results showed a pattern that was anything but random,” Ryan writes. “The Americans has been too successful for too long on the strength of talent alone to study the lesson. In that sense, they were victims of their own success, and it would be years before they could humble themselves enough to learn.”

Jack Nicklaus congratulates Tony Jacklin for a tied match at the 1969 Ryder Cup. (AP files)

The 2008 match, where Nick Faldo captained the Euros and Paul Azinger was at the helm of the U.S., “was perhaps the purest test of the old question: Did the captaincy matter?”

Azinger, America’s one outside-the-box thinker, was a winner on home soil, conceiving the pod system and getting the most out a U.S. lineup that featured the likes of Chad Campbell, Boo Weekely and Ben Curtis. Azinger wanted the captaincy again in 2010 and should’ve been given it. Instead, the PGA turned to Corey Pavin and a stretch where each captain approached the Ryder Cup in their own way, with little to no continuity.

“There were plenty of lessons to be learned,” Ryan writes. “They learned none.”

Paul Azinger was able to sell his ’08 American team as underdogs, and the attitude paid off.

The Miracle at Medinah in 2012, when the Euros rallied from a 10-6 deficit was exactly that – a miracle. “Whatever quibble you have with Davis Love III’s strategy, his loss at Medinah was a fluke, built on a pyramid of absurd longshots coming through one after another, and if any of them failed, Europe would have lost.”

There’s a whole chapter, an interlude titled “Why does Europe win?” where Ryan diagnoses the seven most-common theories for the 40-year disease, including old standbys that the Americans just need to play better and Europeans just like each other more. (Ryan quotes an oldie but goodie from a Euro vet explaining their team chemistry: “We get together for a week, we get along, and when it’s over, we all go back to hating Monty.”)

Ryan’s narrative moves briskly back and forth between the drama in Wisconsin while deconstructing the fascinating history and evolution of this 93-year-old competition. He delves deep into the brilliant mind of 2014 Euro captain Paul McGinley, while also explaining the mistakes made by past U.S. captains that led to the infamous U.S. Task Force in 2014.

From left, Europe’s players Jamie Donaldson, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose pour champagne over captain Paul McGinley as they celebrate winning the 2014 Ryder Cup.

It all came to a head in the post-match press conference after a beatdown at Gleneagles in Scotland when Phil Mickelson threw U.S. Captain Tom Watson under the bus. Ryan writes of the 2014 debacle, noting it “embodied the stereotypes of the past four decades – brutal efficiency through hyper-organization on the European side, and rank dysfunction on the American side – that the contrast demanded to be recognized. When the mess was over, it was no longer possible to say with any credibility that the Ryder Cup was simply a test of which individuals played better. The effect of management was so obvious that even the most dyed-in-the-wool stubborn American couldn’t pretend everything was fine…It’s the Ryder Cup that broke the Americans.”

And also, he points out, “the one that set them free.”

The Task Force was a necessary evil and while the changes implemented in its aftermath “may not sound like earth-shattering ideas…what may look like foundational elements for any team sport, or even a business, are plainly not obvious in an individualized sport like golf,” Ryan writes.

The showdown at Whistling Straits is at the center of this book and Ryan takes us inside all of the back-room decision-making. He’s at his best when he’s picking apart the shortcomings of Euro Captain Padraig Harrington, taking us into the childhood home of USA Captain Steve Stricker and a meeting with his parents and detailing the importance analytics played in determining the various captain’s picks and who paired well together in foursomes and four-ball.

Ryan provides a road map that details how after a slew of embarrassing defeats, Team U.S.A. won in record fashion in 2021, with its six rookies combining for a 14-4-3 record.

“I think the most important thing for the U.S. team is a lot of young guys that are great players have bought into the Ryder Cup,” Rory McIlroy said. “I think that was probably missing in previous generations.”

Now the question remains: did the U.S. victory on home soil represent a generational shift and a sea change in America’s fortunes?

“Even in an era when home course advantage is massive,” Ryan concludes, “it’s clear that America is operating from a position of strength, and Europe from a position of hope.”

It will have been 30 years since America won on the road when these two proud competitors next meet. Sounds like the subject for a sequel in Italy in 2023.

Henrik Stenson lost out on millions by locking himself into Ryder Cup captaincy, but kept a dream alive

Henrik Stenson is Europe’s new Ryder Cup skipper for next year’s match in Rome.

It’s nice work if you can get it. Conservative estimates suggest the European Ryder Cup captaincy is worth nearly $3 million in sponsorships and other lucrative odds and sods for the man at the helm.

When you’ve reportedly been offered $40 million to join a Saudi Super League, though, that’s chump change.

Henrik Stenson is Europe’s new Ryder Cup skipper for next year’s match in Rome. And by taking on the role, he has effectively turned his back on the riches from the bottomless pit of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and committed himself to the DP World Tour.

It was well-known in golfing circles that Stenson needed to provide an ongoing commitment to the circuit before his captaincy could be endorsed. You half expected some elaborate, archaic ceremony in which he swore his allegiance over some holy relics. Or at least a dog-eared copy of the Tour’s members’ manual.

“There’s been lot of speculation back and forth,” said the Swede of the Saudi situation which certainly won’t disappear in the months and years to come. “I am fully committed to the captaincy and to Ryder Cup Europe and the job at hand. The captain does sign a contract. He’s the only one that does that. Players and vice-captains don’t.”

With the elephant in the room brushed aside, Stenson could get on with talking about his new post. As a five-time Ryder Cup player, with 11 points from 19 matches, and a vice-captain last year, Stenson ticks all manner of boxes.

“They’ll get Henrik,” he said simply when asked what he’ll bring to the job. Stenson will do it his way and, as a popular figure with a sense of humor that’s as dry as a sawmill, getting Henrik is not a bad thing. “As a player, I’ve been Captain Chaos a few times,” chuckled the 2016 Open champion.

The 45-year-old will be the first Swede to captain Europe and there’s a fair bit of pressure on his shoulders. After the visitors were on the receiving end of a dreadful thumping by a rampant USA side at Whistling Straits in 2021, Stenson has to find a way of derailing the American express. And he doesn’t want to be the first European captain to lose on home soil in 30 years either.

Henrik Stenson
Team Europe’s Henrik Stenson celebrates after winning the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on Frane. (Photo: David Davies/PA Wire)

The might of a youthful and hugely talented Team USA was there for all to see last September. Europe, meanwhile, could be set for a changing of the guard with some seasoned campaigners making way for fresh talent. Whatever the make-up of his team, Stenson wants young and old alike to make a strong claim over the next 18 months.

“Looking solely at the age at Whistling Straits, I think our team was an average of 35 years and the American side had about a 26-year-old average,” he noted. “So we certainly had an older team and at some point there will be a shift and I can definitely see that happening this time around.

“But I can also see a few hungry veterans wanting to keep their jerseys. I know from my own experience that when you play in a Ryder Cup, you don’t want to hand that jersey to someone else. You are going to fight dearly to keep it another time. And that’s exciting for me as a captain. Everything is a possibility. The door is open to anyone with a European passport.”

The Ryder Cup may be over 560 days away but the job starts now.

“The Ryder Cup is golf, and sport, at its very best,” he gushed. “I got goosebumps every time I pulled on a European shirt as a player and that will be magnified in the role of captain. When I started out as a professional golfer, it was beyond my wildest dreams that, one day, I would follow in the footsteps of legends such as Seve [Ballesteros] and be the European Ryder Cup captain. But this proves that, sometimes, dreams do come true.”

It wasn’t to be, meanwhile, for Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson and Paul Lawrie, who were the other names in the hat. At 53, Lawrie’s chance has passed him by. Like Sandy Lyle before him, another Scottish major champion has missed out.

Sometimes, the captain’s cap just doesn’t fit.

Nick Rodger is a contributor to the Scotland Herald and Glasgow Times, part of Newsquest, which is a subsidiary of Gannett/USA Today.

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Snubbed for European Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald says, ‘Hopefully, that’s not my chance gone’

Luke Donald still hopes his time will come, but the truth is he wanted the job in 2023.

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Luke Donald can’t hide his disappointment.

He tries his best, says all the right things, hopes his time will come, but the truth is he wanted the job of European Ryder Cup captain in 2023 in Italy and it was a tough pill to swallow when Guy Kinnings, Ryder Cup director, phoned and broke the news that Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was the man to lead Team Euro in Rome.

“I thought I had a chance this time but it wasn’t to be,” Donald said with a Brit’s stiff upper lip. “I was disappointed personally that I didn’t get the nod but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it down the road. I wish Henrik all the best and support him along the way.”

Donald, 44, was on the short list along with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson. Donald said he made a 30-minute presentation to the three most recent Ryder Cup captains – Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington – as well as David Howell, chairman of the DP World Tour tournament committee, and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

Donald, who represented Team Europe four times as a player, played under four captains with different characteristics. He said Germany’s Bernhard Langer, captain in 2004, was the closest to Donald’s style and the most detail-oriented.

“This year, we’re really going to have to motivate the players to come back from what was a tough defeat,” said Donald, who served as a vice captain at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin when the U.S. routed Europe 19-9. “That defeat itself will give the players plenty of motivation to pick up their games. They didn’t perform nearly as well as they knew they could have. They faced a strong U.S. team but for whatever reason the players didn’t perform that well. We need to address that and make it better for a run.”

Europe’s Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald celebrate after winning the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois.

Donald has been groomed for a future leadership role having worked in the back room during the last two Cups as a vice captain at Paris and Whistling Straits. If asked to do a third tour of duty as a buggy driver, Donald said, “I believe I would. It’s not an easy job but it’s less stressful job than being a captain or a player. It’s a busy job. We have quite a lot we’re doing, but I love being part of a Ryder Cup.”

Despite being snubbed this time for the captaincy, Donald still holds out hope that his time will come, but realizes there is a logjam of potential candidates among the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia, just to name a few.

“I thought I had a good chance this year. Hopefully, that’s not my chance gone,” Donald said. “We have a lot of very worthy candidates, legends of the Ryder Cup, guys like Sergio, I don’t know how this whole Saudi thing is going to play out and if anyone is going to get knocked out because of that. That’s a little bit of a question mark.”

Donald said he would’ve liked his chances to captain in Italy, noting that the U.S. hasn’t won the Cup on the road since 1993. But that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to trying to win a road match, including throwing his hat into the mix for Bethpage Black in New York in 2025. Given that he’s been based in the U.S. since 1997, Donald hypothesized that the Team Europe selection committee may think he’s better suited to lead the Euro’s 12-man squad on foreign soil in the U.S.

“It’s a tough crowd (at Bethpage), but I haven’t given them too much ammo during my career,” Donald said. “I think I’d be fine and would love the opportunity.”

For now, Donald is focused on trying to improve his own game. He’s missed the cut at his last three starts heading into this week’s Valspar Championship and has dropped to No. 574 in the world. A decade ago, he returned to World No. 1 with a playoff victory at the Valspar at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course.

“It doesn’t feel that long ago,” he said. “I remember a great 7-iron at the last. A 1-in-10 shot from a scruffy lie that came out perfectly to 6 feet below the hole and managed to slip it in the left-hand side of the cup to win.”

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Henrik Stenson’s challenge as European Ryder Cup captain will be daunting

The Europeans, now headed by Henrik Stenson, are transitioning, but the Swede is not intimidated.

You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant that serves decent pickled herring or that has a selection of aquavit in Des Moines, Iowa, but the Hawkeye state’s favorite golfing son, Zach Johnson, the newly-named U.S. Ryder Cup captain, is going to get familiar with Swedish style over the next two years. And we’re not talking Ikea.

Two weeks after the PGA of America announced that Johnson will be the captain of the 2023 team that competes at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy, it was announced that Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will be leading the European Ryder Cup team.

Stenson, 45, won the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon in an epic battle over Phil Mickelson and was the winner at the 2009 Players Championship. He has competed in five Ryder Cups as a player and in his most-recent appearance went 3-0-0 at Le Golf National in Paris to help Europe win in 2018. His career record is 10-7-2, he played on three winning teams and was a vice captain last September for Padraig Harrington.

The start of the Ryder Cup is still 564 days away, but as Sir Nick Faldo, the losing European Ryder Cup captain from 2008, pointed out, Stenson’s job will likely be harder than a Viking winter.

It is far too early to project who will be on the team, but it’s safe to say that Stenson will be relying on Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland. They are the only three European players currently ranked in the top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Tyrrell Hatton is 15th, Paul Casey is 24th, Shane Lowry is 36th and Tommy Fleetwood is 47th. Sergio Garcia, a bright spot for the Euros at Whistling Straits when he went 3-1, is currently No. 49.

42nd Ryder Cup
Henrik Stenson celebrates a victory during Foursomes at the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. (Photo: David Davies/PA Wire via AP Images)

The Americans won the last Ryder Cup by a record margin, 19-9, and it is deep with young talent. Compared to Stenson, Zach Johnson will likely be able to blend a team to suit the course and conditions from an abundance of riches.

Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0-0 at Whistling Straits, is ranked No. 10 in the world and will be 39 when the next Ryder Cup is contested, but Justin Thomas (ranked 8th), Jordan Spieth (ranked 14th) and Xander Schauffele (ranked 9th) will only be 30. Those three players won a combined seven points for the U.S. team in Wisconsin.

Scottie Scheffler, ranked No. 5,  has won twice on the PGA Tour since going 2-0-1 at the 2021 Ryder Cup, and Collin Morikawa, ranked 2nd, has won two majors and went 3-0-1 at Whistling Straits. They will only be 27 when the next Ryder Cup is played. The reigning FedEx Cup champion, Patrick Cantlay is ranked 4th, will be 31, and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka will be 33.

Among the players who were not at Whistling Straits but who might be blended into a team are putting and short-game specialist Kevin Kisner, the top-ranked ballstriker on the PGA Tour in Will Zalatoris, and rising star Max Homa.

Stenson said that the European team will decide at a later time how many captain’s picks he will have. Johnson has already said he will have six picks.

Regardless, the reverberations from the 2021 Ryder Cup are unmistakable. The United States has a deep, talented team that appears to be filled with players who are excited about playing and winning cups. The Europeans, now headed by Stenson, are transitioning, but the Swede is not intimidated.

“I know my players are going to be up for a challenge,” he said. “We saw a very strong American team at Whistling Straits. But we also saw that coming into Paris.”

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Henrik Stenson named European Ryder Cup captain for 2023 matches in Italy

The five-time member of Team Europe debuted in 2006 and most-recently competed in 2018.

The Europeans will have an experienced hand at the helm in Italy.

On Tuesday morning it was announced that Henrik Stenson will be the European captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy. The 45-year-old from Sweden has been a member of five European Ryder Cup teams, most recently in 2018 at Le Golf National in France, and boasts a 10-7-2 record. As a rookie Stenson made the winning putt for Europe at the 2006 matches at the K Club in Ireland.

The news comes two weeks after the United States announced Zach Johnson, a fellow five-time Ryder Cupper, would captain the American squad.

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‘He’s a bulldog’: Players react to Zach Johnson being named United States Ryder Cup captain for 2023

Players react to their new captain for 2023.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Zach Johnson is the right choice.

That’s the overwhelming feeling among players and former captains concerning Johnson officially being named the 2023 Ryder Cup captain for Team USA on Monday at PGA of American headquarters in Palme Beach Gardens, Florida.

“He’s smart.”

“He’s confident.”

“He’s honest.”

“He’s a bulldog.”

“He’s just good people.”

That’s just a snapshot of the praise for Johnson, 46, who has played in the Ryder Cup five times and the Presidents Cup four times. He’s also been an assistant captain the past two editions of the Ryder Cup.

Now the mission for the two-time major champion and winner of 12 PGA Tour titles is to end the USA’s 30-year drought on foreign soil in the biennial matches against Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.

Here are those who think he’s up to the task.

Zach Johnson named United States Ryder Cup captain for 2023 in Italy

Johnson has represented Team USA five times as a player and twice as an assistant captain.

Zach Johnson has often referred to himself as just an ordinary man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Family and faith are the pillars in his life. Polite as the day is long. Laid-back, approachable, considerate, charitable. A down-to-earth spirit that seldom leaves him, his Midwestern values, if you will, always at the ready.

But Johnson sells himself short, especially when it comes to the emerald stages across the world where he’s done his work. With a green jacket in a locker in the Champions Locker Room at Augusta National and a Claret Jug on his mantle, as well as 10 pieces of hardware saluting his other 10 PGA Tour titles, the word extraordinary would aptly apply in reference to Johnson.

When he won the 2015 Open Championship, he joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo as the only players to win the Masters and a British Open on the Old Course.

That certainly isn’t ordinary. Now add Ryder Cup captain to his resume.

Johnson, 46, was officially named the captain of the 2023 Ryder Cup for Team USA Monday at PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Johnson has played in the Ryder Cup five times (8-7-2 record) and the Presidents Cup four times (10-6-1). He’s also been an assistant captain the past two editions of the Ryder Cup and will be the 30th captain for Team USA.

His task in 2023? To end the USA’s 30-year drought on foreign soil in the 44th edition of the biennial matches against Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.

“It’s a great choice. Him being involved with the last couple of teams, being a player many times, is important. He’s a fierce competitor,” said Steve Stricker, who captained the Americans to a historic 19-9 win at Whistling Straits before spending weeks in the hospital. “As a player, he finds a way to get it done. He’s got a little bulldog mentality. All the guys know that about Zach. He’s a fighter. He’s the right guy to go overseas leading the team.”

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Report: Zach Johnson to captain U.S. Ryder Cup team in Italy in 2023

Johnson has represented Team USA five times as a player and twice as an assistant captain.

A new captain is picking up the shield for America.

According to the Associated Press, Zach Johnson will be the captain for the United States at the 2023 Ryder Cup to be held at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy.

A five-time playing member of Team USA and an assistant captain in the last two matches, Johnson brings experienced leadership to a United States squad hoping to win on European soil for the first time since 1993. Team Europe has yet to announce its captain.

At the last match in September at Whistling Straits, captain Steve Stricker led Team USA to a dominant 19-9 win before spending weeks in the hospital. Stricker was reportedly involved in the Ryder Cup committee of three PGA Tour players and three PGA of America executives who helped select Johnson as captain.

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Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington won the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills. Here’s what they said about the fire

“I know they had some of my stuff and you can’t replace some of that,” Langer said.

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NAPLES, Fla. — Bernhard Langer was the European Ryder Cup captain when the Euros routed the U.S., 18 ½-9 ½, at Oakland Hills in Michigan. Padraig Harrington played on that team, and later won the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 2008.

So Thursday’s news of the fire that destroyed the iconic clubhouse, and some of the memorabilia inside it, hit hard.

“The main thing. … nobody was hurt,” Harrington said. “Clearly, they can rebuild the clubhouse.”

“It was sad to see,” Langer said Friday. “I mean, it’s always sad to see when something burns down because it just seems such a waste and a disaster and so tragic. At least they didn’t lose any lives, but I believe a lot of memorabilia in the clubhouse. I know they had some of my stuff and you can’t replace some of that.

“So that will be gone, and so much history.”

Several departments responded after the fire broke out in the clubhouse attic. The clubhouse, which was completed in 1922, was adorned with irreplaceable golf tournament memorabilia and art going back a century.

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Eventually, the roof collapsed, and one fire official called it “almost a total loss” several hours after the blaze began.

Oakland Hills Country Club was founded in 1916 by Joseph Mack and Norval Hawkins, two Ford executives, at a meeting of 47 friends and associates at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Oakland Hills has hosted six U.S. Opens. Only two other courses have hosted more. It was recently was awarded the U.S. Women’s Open in 2031 and 2042.

Firefighters apparently were able to save some of the memorabilia after being directed where it was by club officials.

“And even if it’s memorabilia, it can be replaced — it can’t be, but it can be — but the only thing that matters is that nobody was hurt,” Harrington said. “It’s shocking and it’s terrible, but it’s not tragic. At the end of the day, tragic is somebody lost their life, so we can move on.

“They’ll rebuild bigger and better.”

And Harrington is happy to give more to the club when that happens.

“I’m sure there’s many people like myself who have great memories there who would be delighted to donate stuff again,” Harrington said.

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