Oct
7
2014
PGA plans to form Ryder Cup task force, likely to include Phil, Tiger
By Stephanie Wei under Ryder Cup

Just over a week removed from the U.S. team’s eighth loss to Europe in the past 10 Ryder Cups, the PGA of America is already in the process of a major overhaul to its current system. PGA of America President Ted Bishop is planning to create a task force dedicated to examine the Ryder Cup structure — from how the captain’s picks are selected to the qualification of the 12 team members and even the schedule of events during the matches — according to GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard.

“Basically we are giving the task force a blank canvas on all things on the Ryder Cup to give the PGA some input,” Bishop said. “The PGA is willing to take a step back and listen to some people that are involved in the process.”

According to Bishop, the task force will consist of 10 to 12 members who will be current and former players, former captains and PGA officials. Numerous sources have told GolfChannel.com the group will likely include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and possibly Paul Azinger, the 2008 U.S. captain who has been mentioned as the next possible captain.

Bishop said the PGA will announce the makeup of the task force “in the next week or so.”

It’s hard not to see this quick and drastic action as a result of Mickelson’s harsh critique of Tom Watson’s leadership at Gleneagles in the post-match team press conference, which is likely what the five-time major champion intended. (After all, Phil doesn’t say anything without an agenda.) Just from observing the distinct management philosophies between the American and European teams throughout the week, it was clear that Watson’s plan (or lack thereof) was filled with holes, especially compared to Captain Paul McGinley’s incredibly thorough “template.”

Then, last weekend an ESPN.com report revealed how a team meeting led by Watson turned ugly when he criticized several members of the team, failed to take any responsibility and snubbed a gift from the players. In response, Watson wrote an open letter to the public. In the past week, Bishop has defended Mickelson’s comments and nearly thrown Watson under the bus.

Mickelson’s so-called attack on Watson in the post-loss team presser has now made him the voice of change for America, specifically when he said the PGA had “strayed from a winning formula in 2008.” Now, it appears that the PGA is prepared to involve Mickelson in its strategy toward change and returning to a successful system, which can hopefully curb Europe’s domination of the biennial dogfight over the past two decades.

Also, don’t expect the 2016 U.S. captain to be announced this year as it has traditionally. In the past, the PGA of America names a new captain following the association’s annual meeting in November, but that’s not happening this time around.

“There will be no captain announced in 2014. I don’t know what the time frame would be but we are in no hurry to make that decision. We want to give the task force a chance to weigh in on a lot of things,” Bishop said, adding, “We don’t even have a short list of candidates (for the 2016 captain). That discussion hasn’t been started.”