Loss-weary PGA forms Ryder Cup task force
After two decades of European dominance in the Ryder Cup, the Americans have created a task force to figure out why they keep losing.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among 11 players, captains and PGA of America officials who were appointed to the Ryder Cup task force that will look at everything from qualifications to captain’s picks and even practice schedules during the matches.
Europe has won the Ryder Cup eight of the last 10 times, including a comfortable victory last month at Gleneagles, after which Mickelson indirectly criticizing the leadership style of U.S. captain Tom Watson’s during the closing press conference.
“This is a great step by the PGA to accomplish what we all want - to win the Ryder Cup,” Woods said in a statement Tuesday.
Woods has played on only one winning team in seven Ryder Cup appearances. Mickelson (10 appearances) and Jim Furyk (nine) have played on two winning teams. The other players are Steve Stricker, an assistant captain at Gleneagles, and Rickie Fowler, who has yet to win a match in his two Ryder Cups.
The former captains are Davis Love III (2012), Tom Lehman (2006) and Raymond Floyd (1989). None captained a winning team.
The previous two Ryder Cups were decided by one point.
PGA President Ted Bishop, saying he was tired of losing, picked Watson to be captain for Gleneagles. Watson had not been to a Ryder Cup since he was captain of the last U.S. team that won in Europe in 1993, and at 65 he was the oldest captain in Ryder Cup history.
The move backfired as Watson appeared to be out of touch at Gleneagles. The Ryder Cup ended with an awkward news conference in which Mickelson - beside Watson - praised the success of Paul Azinger in 2008 in the most recent U.S. victory and suggested that Watson didn’t embrace that winning formula.
In the aftermath of the loss, various reports painted a picture of a heavy-handed leadership style on the U.S. team.
The co-chairs are PGA chief executive Pete Bevacqua and Derek Sprague, next in line to be PGA president at its annual meeting next month. Paul Levy, the PGA secretary, was the third official appointed to the task force.
Sprague said the task force would cover the way the captain is selected, how players qualify, how many captain are picked, when they should be picked, even small details like when the team arrives and the schedule leading to it. AP
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