2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III named Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk as three of his five vice-captains for the biennial matches against Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota next September.
When Love was first named captain in February 2015, he immediately announced that Tom Lehman would serve as one of his vice captains. Love’s fifth and final choice will be announced at a later date.
“To welcome four vice captains of this caliber is a giant first step toward preparing the 2016 team for success,” said Love, who made today’s appointments at the RSM Classic, where he is playing host. “Tom, Jim, Steve and Tiger have over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences that they are eager to share. They’ll also be my eyes and ears from event to event next year on Tour. That’s invaluable, and as captain, I am grateful for their commitment, dedication and passion to win.”
45-year-old Furyk has played in nine consecutive Ryder Cups, which is the second most in U.S. Ryder Cup history after Phil Mickelson. Furyk was a member of the winning squads in 1999 and 2008.
“I am honored to be named a vice captain for the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team,” said Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion. “The Ryder Cup is in my DNA, and I love everything about this event: the enormity of the stage, the passion, the competition and the pressure. I look forward to being part of the team as we strive to win back the Ryder Cup on U.S. soil.”
Stricker was named vice captain for the second time. He also served under U.S. Captain Tom Watson at Gleneagles in 2014. Stricker has played in three Ryder Cups, including the victorious squad in 2008.
“Having known Davis for such a long time, I am thrilled to join him and the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team as vice captain,” Stricker said. “We learned a great deal from the Ryder Cup Task Force meetings, and we are optimistic about our plans for 2016 and beyond. I think about the Ryder Cup all the time. There is nothing quite like it in sports. I am ready to roll up my sleeves, get started and get up to Hazeltine.”
Woods was selected as vice captain for the first time. He has played on seven Ryder Cup teams, but has only been on the winning side once (1999).
“I’d like to thank Davis for his confidence in me and for my selection as a Ryder Cup vice captain. This is something I want to do,” Woods said. “I will continue to do whatever I can to help win the Cup back. Once I’m fully healthy, I’d like to try to make the team too, but either way, I’m very excited to work with Davis, the other vice captains and the players to get a U.S. victory.”
We can make lots of jokes about the records of these vice-captain selections, but the thing is, the Americans have won so few times in the past several decades that it’d be difficult to find a living player with similar qualifications and leadership capacities who has had success at the Ryder Cup.