PALM BEACH GARDENS: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among 11 people named Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to a PGA of America task force aimed at examining why US teams have struggled in recent Ryder Cups.
The group will study all aspects of the Ryder Cup process, from how captains are selected to the points system used to determine players, the cutoff dates for deciding rosters, dates for making captains wildcard picks and the selection of vice captains.
“I think this is a great step by the PGA to accomplish what we all want — to win the Ryder Cup,” Woods said. “The Ryder Cup is very important to every player who has the honor to represent his country. I’m excited to be part of this group.”
Former world number one Woods, a 14-time major champion, has played for only one Ryder Cup winner, the 1999 squad which made the greatest last-day comeback in US history to win the trophy.
Woods was sidelined by a back injury for most of this year and missed out on being part of the US squad that lost to Europe 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 last month at Gleneagles in Scotland.
No US side has won the Cup in Europe since 1993 and the Europeans have won eight of the past 10 Ryder Cups and six of the past seven.
After the latest defeat, US star Mickelson wondered why the Americans had gotten away from the formula used by Paul Azinger when the US team won in 2008 at Valhalla, his noting of greater player involvement and communication with the captain a stark contrast to the way US captain Tom Watson had run this year’s squad that produced tense moments during the news conference after a third US loss in a row.
“The Ryder Cup is our most prized competitive asset and the PGA of America is committed to utilizing our utmost energy and resources to support one of the biggest events in all of sport,” PGA of America president Ted Bishop said.
Derek Sprague, the PGA Vice President, and Pete Bevacqua, the PGA Chief Executive Officer, will co-chair the task force, whose other members include players Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk; past Ryder Cup captains Tom Lehman, Davis Love and Ray Floyd and PGA of America secretary Paul Levy.
“The Ryder Cup Task Force is an exciting and comprehensive initiative that will guide the PGA in developing the right strategy and building ongoing processes and infrastructure for future generations of US teams,” Bishop said.
The United States has a 25-13 with two drawn record against European rivals, but Europe has a 10-4 with one drawn edge since 1985.
The next meeting in the biennial rivalry will be staged in 2016 at Hazeltine, a suburban Minneapolis course that has hosted two US Opens and two PGA Championships.