The Man Out Front is still trying to wrap his head around Sweden’s Henrik Stenson joining LIV Golf then showing surprise that it cost the former British Open champ arguably the greatest honor of his career, the captaincy of the 2023 European Ryder Cup team.
LIV Golf defections likely mean Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell are out of Team Euro’s pipeline of future Ryder Cup captains, too. What about Team USA? Most notably, Phil Mickelson and down the road Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson likely took their names out of consideration.
Meanwhile, Team USA brings stability to the 2022 Presidents Cup with Davis Love III, a two-time Ryder Cup captain, getting another turn at the helm.
“We’ve talked about it for three to four years, maybe more, about me doing Presidents Cup in Charlotte,” Love, a Tar Heel State native and North Carolina grad, told TMOF of this year’s event at Quail Hollow Club, September 22-25. “I told both Tim Finchem and Jay Monahan no. I said, ‘I need to be done with this. We need some new guys.’
“Tiger called me and told me they had decided I should be the captain. I called Jay and he said, ‘Look, you’re a lifer on the PGA Tour. You’ve put so much into the Presidents Cup. You’re going to be captain and Charlotte is the place to do it.’ When Tiger and Jay and the rest of our group all point at you, I’m honored to do it.”
The members of the group formerly known as The Task Force had a succession plan in place. Then Woods, the victorious captain for Team USA at the 2019 Presidents Cup, was involved in a car accident and LIV Golf shook up the order. It meant Zach Johnson was bumped up to the Ryder Cup gig in Italy in 2023.
“The order is a little messed up,” Love conceded.
If Mickelson is out of the rotation, does that mean there still could be a chance for Fred Couples to land the Ryder Cup job in 2025 or beyond?
“I sure hope so,” Love said. “This next generation of Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young, they need to meet Fred Couples. Arnie (Palmer) and Ken Venturi did it at an older age well after their playing career was over. Another generation got to know them. So, I think it would be good. He wasn’t really skipped over. He just jumped to Presidents Cup and did three in a row. The order is off, and who knows just how far off it is. Does Tiger want Bethpage (in ’25) or does he want to wait? I don’t think it’s over for Fred, because we’re kind of in a weird zone.”
Future Presidents Cup sites include Quail Hollow, Royal Montreal, Medinah and more
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek