Johnson singles out ‘Time Management’ issues as key to USAs Ryder Cup defeat

Fatiha Betscher

Zach Johnson (Photo by Kate McShane/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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USA Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has singled out ‘time management’ issues as key in the defeat of his USA team, while also calling for more collaboration between the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the European Tour into the scheduling of the Ryder Cup.

This year’s 44th hosting of the Ryder Cup was again staged towards the latter end of September, with Europe handing their American guests a 16.5 to 11.5 Rome thumping on the 1st October.

Much was written in the aftermath suggesting that the Johnson led side were under-prepared with the majority of USA team not having played competitively since the August 27th concluding Tour Championship, whereas all of Luke Donald’s men were present at Tour HQ competing two weeks ahead of travelling to Italy when teeing-up in the BMW PGA Championship.

Scotland’s Bob MacIntyre even contested the French Open the week prior making his debut in a European Team.

Johnson, speaking ahead of this week’s 2022/23 season-ending RSM Classic, revealed that in the days and weeks following his side’s defeat, he had ‘looked at every aspect of the Ryder Cup’ but admits a big reason his Stars and Stripes side were outplayed from the very first rounds on day one, was poor ‘time management’.

“I looked at every aspect of the Ryder Cup before and the week of and tried to diagnose it and study it and figure it out, like what’s the most efficient way to tackle each and every item,” he said.

“The common denominator that I go back to that I wish I could have changed, or not changed, I wish it would have dawned on me earlier is just the pure commodity of time and understanding that it’s precious. I think I’ve — you know, we had the practice round trip. No regrets. Amazing. I don’t think the guys would say they had any regrets, at least I hope they wouldn’t. It was spectacular.

“I think if I could — you’re looking back on things. If I could have put more value into time management, I could have put my guys in a better position to play golf at a better rate early on. I’m not suggesting that would have changed the outcome, not at all. I can’t determine
that, that’s sports, right? I’m just saying I think in my seat I didn’t see what needed to be seen until after the fact.

“Now, it’s been seen and it’s been voiced by me and probably a couple others but specifically myself, so hopefully next time around there’s a better template put into place so these guys can go play golf.”

When asked if he felt he was ‘out-captained’, Johnson replied: “I’m not going to fault anybody for suggesting that Luke did a better job because they won. That’s only natural. I think Luke would also attest to that, you know what, he’s happy for his 12 guys that won. I’m upset that my 12 guys did not win.”

However, in responding to a question that outlined the fact the Europeans had played right up to the week prior the Ryder Cup, as opposed to the month’s break by the majority of his team, Johnson suggested the PGA of America, as organisers of the Ryder Cup when in the States, along with the European Tour and PGA Tour need to work closer together and consider choosing a different date for the biennial hosting of the Cup.

“I mean, we’ve seen it both kinds of — well, for Team USA we’ve seen both. We’ve had Tour Championships right into a Ryder Cup, right, or Presidents Cup, and then we’ve had Tour Championship and whatever, three to five weeks off,” said Johnson.

“I mean, it kind of goes back to what I said earlier, the commodity of time. That’s one of those instances, providing time, but then also what you’re doing in that time is another part of that. Ideally you want to have some fresh guys. I don’t know if it’s the captain’s role to say, hey, you guys got to go play. I don’t know if that’s the proper way to approach it.

“Bottom line is the FedExCup takes a lot of time, energy and they need to rest, too. Some guys played Napa. There were only a couple I guess if I think back on it.

“So there could be some truth in that. And you had their guys playing the BMW, which is one of their signature events. You had I think it was 10 or 12 that were in the top-15, something like that, maybe even better than that, which is pretty ridiculous. You had that and you only had one time zone change for them to travel. Actually, a couple were on the same time zone. There’s some merit to be said there, too.

“Yeah, I mean, it would be — that’s been talked about and I would say it would be nice to have some collaboration between the PGA TOUR and The PGA of America or Ryder Cup Europe or the European Tour in general to have some collaboration there to see if we could
figure out a really good way to tackle that.

“I’m assuming the dates — I know the dates are scheduled for New York. I don’t know about Ireland yet, I really don’t know.”

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