USA Ryder Cup captain, Steve Stricker indicated he will use the 12-month rescheduling of the Ryder Cup to 2021 to review his team selection process.
In what was initially a jaw-dropping move, Stricker had chosen to go with six automatic selections and six ‘wildcard’ picks for his team that he had been set to take to Whistling Straits in September.
Stricker may very well decide to stick with his ‘six and six’ selection, however with the 2020 Ryder Cup now to take place from 24th to 26th September, 2021 it will allow Stricker a good 14 months to reconsider just how many ‘automatics’ and how many ‘wildcards’ he will lead out onto the shores of Lake Michigan.
“No, I don’t think so,” said Stricker when asked ahead of this week’s Workday Charity Open if he would be making any changes to those who qualify for his side.
However, Stricker added: “I mean, but we’ll look at it. And it may stay the same. I don’t know. Or we may go back to eight and four; I don’t know that, either. We’ll take a look at all the scenarios.
“We just want to put our best team forward, and whatever that looks like, we’re going to do. I’ll talk to all my guys and see what the best thing to do is, and we’ll go from there.”
Whatever Stricker and his vice-captains decide, one thing is certain for both he and rival European Team captain, Padraig Harrington and that is a chunk of extra time now exists to assess their respective sides.
“I guess I’m the lucky one, huh? Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it, and I just told Davis, you get to the point where you want to play it,” said Stricker.
“You’ve put so much time and energy and focus in on it that you want to play it and you want to get there. I couldn’t wait for September to come, you know. Well, now it’s going to have to wait another year.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge, but you know, I can focus a little bit more on my own game now. We’ve done a lot of the work now as far as team rooms, hotels, the course. We’ve done a lot of that work. We shouldn’t have much more work to do next year.
“It means I should be able just to watch these guys play a little bit, come out here on Tour and be around them and play with them. We’ve got to work on the points structure and the qualification process, all that kind of stuff now, but you know, it should go on the back burner for a little while.”
And while formally expressing his disappointment in a joint PGA of America and European Tour press statement earlier in the day, Stricker was asked in Ohio if he thought the 2020 Ryder Cup could have gone ahead even if it meant just ‘limited’ fans.
“Well, we talked about every possible scenario,” said Stricker.
“I think the players made it quite clear that they would love to play with fans. I would love to see fans there. I would love to see full fans there. You know, half fans would have been a good alternative, I think, but I just don’t think, given the uncertainty of what’s going on now in our country and the spike of this virus, it’s just hard to plan for.
“But every scenario was talked about, believe me, and we all wanted to play. But I think a Ryder Cup without fans wouldn’t be much of a Ryder Cup, to be quite honest. This event is built around the fans, and players feed off that energy from the fans. The people love coming to this event. It’s an unbelievable spectacle, and to play it without fans I think would be cheating out everybody, every golf fan in the world.”
And there was not one person Stricker said he had spoken to that did not agree the 2020 Ryder Cup could not have gone ahead without fans.
“No. There was not — as far as players, we were trying to make that work,” he said.
“I mean, if it could be done in a safe way with fans. Yeah, sure, we talked about every scenario. But when it comes down to it, there wasn’t — I didn’t talk to anybody that said that, for playing this year.”