Fan favorite and all-around good guy Steve Stricker was named Ryder Cup Captain for 2020. The event will be played in his home state of Wisconsin, at Whistling Straits, host of three PGA Championships since 2000. Stricker will be formally introduced at a press conference at 8 a.m. in Milwaukee.
It’s been speculated for months that Stricker, a Madison resident and a three-time Ryder Cup assistant captain, would be chosen to lead the 12-man U.S. team against Europe’s best at Whistling Straits. It will be the first time the biennial matches are contested in Wisconsin.
Stricker will become the first U.S. captain without a major championship victory on his resume. Once a prerequisite to serve as captain, winning a major was deemphasized by the 11-person task force assembled in the wake of America’s disastrous loss in 2014 under Tom Watson, after which Phil Mickelson was critical of Watson’s leadership.
Stricker was a member of the task force.
“We’ve kind of gotten away from that qualification,” he said in 2017. “Just because you won a major doesn’t mean you’re qualified to lead a team. I think what we’re seeing here is that anything is possible now.”
The respective captaincies present a contrast in personalities. The laid-back, aw-shucksy Stricker is opposed by steely-nerved, iron-willed Irishman Padraig Harrington, who won three majors in six starts in 2007-2008.
Social media has exploded with an outpouring of love, particularly with Wisconinites, along with Minnesotans among the most ardent golfers in the country.