Jim Furyk, Ryder Cup captain for 2018 and Ponte Vedra Beach resident, made three of his four captain's picks Tuesday, Sept. 4. He also added three vice captains to the team.
Furyk’s team picks were Bryson DeChambeau, who won the Northern Trust and Dell Technologies back-to-back, and veterans Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, the latter of whom has been instrumental in the reorganization of Ryder Cup teams following a loss in 2014.
In addition to selecting team members, Furyk appointed David Duval, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson as vice captains. Davis Love III is already a vice captain.
The challenge ahead will be to win in Europe. The Euros have won every Ryder Cup played in Europe for the last 25 years, and one reason is the fan base that supports the European teams.
“They’re boisterous,” Furyk said in the announcement made on the Golf Channel. “I have a lot of respect for them. We were looking for players we thought would handle that situation well and that would thrive, would love the challenge ahead of them.”
The U.S. will need a strong team from a playing and mental standpoint.
DeChambeau finished ninth on the points list, and only the top eight are automatic selections.
“It’s tough to get really close and not quite get over the hump,” Furyk said about DeChambeau. “I’m sure he put a ton of pressure on himself.”
Winning the last two events made it easy for Furyk to pick him.
“It was disappointing not to make the top eight,” DeChambeau said. “But I regrouped, had a week off and was able to figure out a couple things in my putting and was able to play well at Ridgewood and this last week.”
Mickelson is on a record 12th Ryder Cup team.
“The one thing that has been missing for our team is to go over to Europe and win, and I’m very excited about the team this year,” Mickelson said. “I’m excited to be a part of this team. We have some incredible players. It’s going to be a great challenge because we know how strong the European side is and how well they play at home.”
Woods had previously been named as a vice captain, but since he has been picked to play, he will not act in the vice-captain role.
“I want to free him up,” Furyk said about the role of Woods. “I want to allow him to be able to practice, to prepare and to work with his partner or partners in that preparation.”
Wood has been on teams since 1997 and recalled what he learned early in the matches.
“It was a great learning experience to see the passion that one of our late, great, team leaders, Payne Stewart, showed for the event,” Woods noted. “He made me understand how important the Ryder Cup is. From that moment on, I always wanted to be a part of each and every team.”
One more team member will be selected Sept. 10. The Ryder Cup is Sept. 25-30 at Le Golf National in France.