The American Ryder Cup team has its successor. Zach Johnson will succeed Steve Stricker as team captain for the 2023 games in Italy, according to The Associated Press,
Johnson was an assistant captain on the last two Ryder Cup teams and played on five other American teams before that. He’s been in the inner circle of people in the United States team room for some time, and according to the AP, Stricker was one of those on the selection committee who chose Johnson.
That’s no big surprise, as all the talk at Whistling Straits in 2021 pointed to Johnson being next behind Stricker to try to lead the United States to their first victory in Europe in 30 years. Not since The Belfry in 1993, when the United States won 15-13 over Europe, has the United States scored a win across the Atlantic, losing their last six straight games.
There is hope, however. With a young core that actually seem to like each other (and Johnson, for that matter), USA annihilated Europe at Whistling Straits last year, 19-9. Jordan Spieth said after those matches that they had work to do in Italy at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.
“I feel like I can talk about that loss twice there and being in the middle age group,” Spieth said. “I think it’s unfinished business. … We had to win this one, and I think it was a massive stepping stone for this team and the group we have here who have really known each other since almost the return to the elementary school to keep trying to work hard to be on those teams to go out there.
“It’s one thing to win here and it’s a lot easier to do, and it’s harder to win there,” Spieth continued. “If we play like we did this week, the score will be the same there in a few years, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Johnson would join Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead and Seve Ballesteros as the only golfers to win a Masters at Augusta National, an Open at St. Andrews and lead a Ryder Cup-winning team should the United States win in 2023.