To nobody’s surprise, Madison’s Steve Stricker was named the captain for the 2020 United States Ryder Cup team that will battle the Europeans at Whistling Straits near Kohler from Sept. 22-27, 2020.
Stricker said he had prepared himself not to cry, but that didn’t last long as he fought back tears early on during Wednesday’s PGA of America press conference at Fiserv Vorum.
Stricker has experience for the job, serving as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain in 2016 and a President’s Cup Captain in 2017.
Stricker has been involved in a number of big events during his career but admitted today that it doesn’t get any better than this.
“This is the highlight of my career probably,” he said. “That AmFam Championship event that we put on in Madison, being able to raise a couple million dollars for our foundation and to be able to give that away is pretty special too, but yeah, being a captain of a team, a U.S. team, here in Wisconsin, my backyard, is really special and probably the top of the list.”
Stricker was a unanimous choice by the PGA of America’s six-person voting committee for the captaincy.
Stricker said communication will be a key for him.
“I leaned back and looked at what has worked and I think it’s that communication,” he said. “If you’re up front with the player, know where he stands, I think that’s the best you can do.”
The event is 19 months away, but American players will start earning points toward securing one of the eight automatic bids on the squad this week at the WGC Mexico Championship. Points can be earned through the 2020 BMW Championship which wraps up Aug. 23, 2020. Stricker will then make his four captain’s picks on Sept. 1.
Stricker has been a part of two Ryder Cup winning U.S. teams, winning as a player in 2008 and then as a vice-captain in 2016.
Stricker said he’s hoping the announcement will allow him to limit the number of distractions to his game. But he admitted that as they get closer to the Ryder Cup event, playing will become secondary.