GUIDONIA MONTECELIO – Team Europe already has voiced its preference that it would like to see Luke Donald return as captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black. If that’s the choice, he would be the first repeat captain since Bernard Gallacher in 1991, 1993 and 1995.
As for the Americans, might they consider their own back-to-back captain?
Tiger Woods was thought to be the logical choice for Bethpage Black a year ago, especially when Phil Mickelson effectively lost his chance as a chief recruiter for Saudi-backed LIV Golf.
Woods also was seen as a viable option for Adare Manor in Ireland in 2027. The question to consider as the U.S. Ryder Cup committee starts to meet is whether Woods would be interested in both.
Ben Hogan in 1947 and 1949 was the only American to be captain two times in a row.
Discussions aren’t expected to start until later this year at the earliest — U.S. captains typically are announced around February.
The six-member committee that decides the next Ryder Cup captain comprises Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, along with the PGA president John Lindert and vice president Don Rea and CEO Seth Waugh.
The other part of the equation for the American crew is opening doors for future captains. The idea behind the Ryder Cup task force that was formed after the 2014 matches was to build some continuity among the U.S. teams. Instead, it has become a closed shop.
Johnson was a relative newcomer to the U.S. leadership as the captain. He had been an assistant four times in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.
Steve Stricker has been part of every U.S. team as a captain or an assistant since 2014 (the two times he was captain, his U.S. team won 19-11 in the Presidents Cup and 19-9 in the Ryder Cup). Davis Love III never seems to be left home. Ditto for Fred Couples and Jim Furyk.
The key is to see whom Furyk, the 2018 Ryder Cup captain and now the Presidents Cup captain for 2024 in Montreal, selects as his assistants for next year.
Stewart Cink was a first-time assistant at Marco Simone. Matt Kuchar and David Duval were assistants in Paris in 2018, though neither was invited back.
Former PGA champion David Toms was overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain, just like another PGA champion, Larry Nelson, was before him. Toms, however, has never been an assistant at either of the cups, leading to speculation that he’s not part of the club.
One question that was sure to arise if the Americans did not win the Ryder Cup was whether all the time off led to too much rust. Max Homa and Justin Thomas played the Fortinet Championship two weeks earlier, while Brooks Koepka had a LIV Golf event the week before.
Everyone else last played Aug. 26 in the Tour Championship. That was the longest layoff since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. Before that, the season lasted into late October and it wasn’t an issue finding somewhere to play.
The 2025 Ryder Cup is Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.
“If you asked us when we would like to play the Ryder Cup relative to our schedule, I think we would probably say give us a week after the Tour Championship — or two weeks after — and then go, instead of five,” Jordan Spieth said.
It’s unlikely the Tour Championship would move into the middle of September because the whole idea was to have it finished before the football season got started.
For Europe, they all played at least in one of three tournaments in Ireland, England and France leading up to the matches. All 12 were at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship, and seven of them finished among the top 10.
“They were playing really good golf, and then they carried it right into here,” Spieth said.
Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim won a gold prize that felt every bit as valuable as the Ryder Cup. They helped South Korea win team gold medal in golf at the Asian Games on Sunday, which excludes them from mandatory military service.
This was the first time the Asian Games allowed professional golfers, and they had been pointing to this event in China since January.
Im and Kim, both among the top 50 players in the world, teamed with amateurs Yubin Jang and Wooyoung Cho as South Korea won the team gold by 25 shots over Thailand. Im was the silver medalist in the individual competition.
South Koreans golfers have to win an Olympic medal or an Asian Games gold medal to be excused from military service.
“I’ve been looking forward to playing in the Asian Games,” Im said through Danny Oh, his manager and interpreter. “To win the gold medal for my country in the team portion, in addition to the individual silver medal, was beyond exciting, to say the least.”
TMRW Sports, the entertainment group started by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, has a commercial partnership with SoFi Technologies in which the company will be a presenting sponsor of the TGL golf league held in a South Florida stadium to be called SoFi Center.
TGL mixes technology with live action for a competition among six three-player teams in prime time starting in January. It will be held in the purpose-built arena, and the league is expected to announce ESPN as a broadcast partner perhaps as soon as this week.
Twelve of the players already have been announced, including Woods, McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele.
Franchises with investors such as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen have been announced in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Boston, though all the head-to-head competitions are set for the SoFi Center.
Rickie Fowler is one of four Americans to have been on a losing Ryder Cup team in Europe at least four times. The others are Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. … Former Masters champion Danny Willett has felt enough pain in his shoulder recently that he had it checked out. He said scans revealed a couple of tears, and he had surgery on his left shoulder. “Hard word begins now and I’ll do everything possible to get back stronger than ever,” he said on a social media post. … LIV Golf returns next week in Saudi Arabia. Four regular players are competing this week in the Dunhill Links Championship on the European tour. That includes Louis Oosthuizen, who resigned his membership in Europe before competing in his first LIV Golf event. … Ludvig Aberg is going from his Ryder Cup debut in Italy to Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship. While the Swede from Texas Tech has a PGA Tour card as the No. 1 player in PGA Tour University, he is No. 136 in the FedEx Cup, having not started his season until June. … The top 30 players after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship this week in Indiana earn PGA Tour Cards.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The Italian Golf Federation said Marco Simone had 271,191 spectators over six days for the first Ryder Cup in Italy.
“Win or lose, I told the boys who have played on this before, since I have not: ‘Please don’t take this for granted because this is the most fun I’ve just ever had on a golf course.’” — Max Homa on his first Ryder Cup experience.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf