The Fort Worth Press - US Ryder Cup captain: Home romp won't help end hex in Europe

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US Ryder Cup captain: Home romp won't help end hex in Europe
US Ryder Cup captain: Home romp won't help end hex in Europe / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

US Ryder Cup captain: Home romp won't help end hex in Europe

Basking in the glow of last year's home Ryder Cup blowout won't help the United States snap a 30-year win drought in Europe, US 2023 captain Zach Johnson said Wednesday.

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The Americans inflicted the most lopsided rout since 1967 on Europe with a 19-9 drubbing last September at Whistling Straits, but face the test of trying to win in Europe for the first time since 1993 in next year's rematch in Italy.

"I'm not going to get caught up in what we've done (when I'm) putting together a team that I think can go over there and compete at a great level and welcome the difficulty in that," Johnson said on the eve of the PGA Championship.

"This is going to be an entirely different team, bottom line. Are there going to be some familiar faces? Sure. But the beauty of this tournament is it's every two years and it has its own personality. It takes on its own drama.

"I go back to the template we have. But the team is going to look vastly different. It could look vastly different from next June until September."

The 2021 12-man US team had six Cup rookies, eight players in their 20s and included 11 of the world's top 16 ranked players, with 21st-rated Scottie Scheffler having since won four titles, including the Masters, and become the world number one.

With 20-something major winners Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Scheffler, it figured to be the core of a formidable US lineup for years to come.

Europe had won six of seven Ryder Cups before a US Cup group revamped the selection and preparation system ahead of a 2016 win at Hazeltine.

"Preservation of what we established over the last so many odd Ryder Cups is probably important. That's certainly what we had in Whistling Straits," Johnson said.

"You combine what we've established with the individual side of what I have and believe is imperative and beneficial, and it'll be a combo of all of that."

A concern is how few US players have seen the host course near Rome, but Johnson has confidence his support team will sort out a plan for visits over the next year.

- LIV Golf 'unknowns' -

A concern Johnson has no control over is the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, an upstart US PGA tour rival debuting next month in London, and if the players it lures with record purses will be eligible for the Ryder Cup.

"There are just so many unknowns," Johnson said. "Whatever complexities might happen from this point on, we'll tackle head on as a team and make the decisions as necessary."

Asked about the possible shakeup of roster expectations LIV Golf could cause, Johnson refused to speculate.

"You're speaking in hypotheticals and potentials. I like to speak in truths and facts," Johnson said.

"What I know now is that nothing has come to fruition right now and we're still full steam ahead with what we have.

"It's still 2022. There's a time between now and then. What may happen at some point, we'll make decisions accordingly and I know what we'll do is we'll keep golf first and keep the Ryder Cup first."

W.Lane--TFWP