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Predicting Future Ryder Cup Captains

By: | Wed 17 May 2023

WHEN Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia joined LIV Golf and subsequently resigned from the DP World Tour, it meant that Europe lost three future Ryder Cup captains in the blink of an eye.

LIV Golf also saw the end of any hopes Phil Mickelson might have harboured of leading the USA at the Ryder Cup. And robbed us all of what would surely have been one of the more eccentric leadership campaigns.

So who are the men most likely to be asked to step into the fray in future? Here are some serious contenders, and a couple who won’t be asked but really would bring something special to the contest.


Francesco Molinari

Francesco Molinari

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

The Italian should have been the man in charge for the 2023 contest at Marco Simone but obviously harboured hopes of making the team as a player. He knows what it’s like to win the Ryder Cup, forming a wonderful partnership with Tommy Fleetwood at Le Golf National before winning his singles match to claim all five points. He has won The Open, thrown away The Masters and has a meticulous approach to everything he does.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Jimenez would bring a different approach to the job, for sure. You cannot imagine that he would be a disciplinarian. But you can imagine that his team would be drinking an awful lot of red wine, eating tapas, turning up in Ferraris - and that they would have fun. Oh go on, give him the job. PLEASE.

Rory McIlroy

Do you honestly think there is any chance that McIlroy won’t be asked to do the job at some stage? Before he played in the contest he described it as an exhibition match, but he quickly changed that view after making his debut and experiencing the unique pressure. He has experienced the highs and lows of the Ryder Cup, making him an ideal captain.

Justin Rose

No current player has a better pedigree or CV. He has played in the Ryder Cup five times and been on the winning side three times, including being a member of the team at Medinah in 2012, when he beat Phil Mickelson after producing some unbelievable stuff on the greens. He has won 11 times on the PGA Tour and is also a former US Open and Olympic champion. He is a certain Ryder Cup captain in waiting.

Paul Lawrie

It is an absolute disgrace that the 1999 Open champion has not been asked to captain Europe. He has experienced the best and worst of the Ryder Cup. He was a member of the team that lost from a winning position at Brookline in 1999 and a key member of the European team who stunned the Americans at Medinah. He is an intelligent man with a wicked sense of humour. In truth, his time has probably gone.

Sandy Lyle

How is it possible that Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn were asked to lead Europe while Lyle, a man who won The Open and The Masters, was overlooked? He represented Europe five times, and was part of the winning teams in 1985 and 1987. He won six times on the PGA Tour and 18 times on the DP World Tour, He was also inducted into golf’s hall of fame in 2012. He was Ian Woosnam’s assistant captain in 2006 but was never asked to captain Europe.


Fred Couples

Everybody loves Couples, who is still making the cut at The Masters in his 60s. One can only imagine that the reason he has not captained the USA is because he was offered the job and turned it down. However, he has been named as one of Zach Johnson’s vice-captains for 2023. It is the third time he has been vice-captain, so who knows?

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar has played in four Ryder Cups, winning it in 2016, and five Presidents Cups. He is a nine-time PGA Tour winner who has finished din the top 10 in majors on 12 occasions. His peers respect him, he is a deep thinker and he is an articulate man. Surely a shoo-in.

Stewart Cink

Cink's form went into a nosedive after he had the audacity to defeat a 59-year-old Tom Watson in a playoff to win The Open at Turnberry in 2009. But in September 2020 he won the Safeway Open for his first success in 11 years and he followed it in April 2021 by claiming the RBC Heritage for a third time, breaking the 36-hole and 54-hole scoring records in the process. 

Jimmy Walker

A former winner of the PGA Championship, Walker’s career appeared to be over when he was struck down by Lyme disease but the veteran refused to give up. It has been a long haul but two-time Ryder Cup player is now finally fit again and playing well on the PGA Tour. The Ryder Cup captaincy would be a fitting tribute, and he would be a popular choice.

Webb Simpson

Simpson is what the Americans call a ‘Good ole boy’ and you can be sure he would be able to inspire his team. He loves the game of golf, adores competing and has won at the highest level, claiming both the Players Championship and the US Open. He is also a three-time Ryder Cup player, losing on each occasion. As a captain he will desperately want to put that right.

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Tags: ryder cup PGA Tour european tour dp world tour daily picks

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