Ryder Cup 2020: Five contenders to be the USA captain

Padraig Harrington was announced as Europe’s captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup on Tuesday, but his United States counterpart remains unknown.

Team USA have won just one of the past five editions of the competition and fell to a resounding 17.5-10.5 defeat at Le Golf National last September.

However, they will be back on home ground next year when the competition heads to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

We take a look at five candidates who could captain Team USA’s next bid for Ryder Cup glory.


Steve Stricker

He may have won just three of his 11 Ryder Cup matches as a player, but the level-headed and popular Stricker is the favourite to lead the USA.

The 51-year-old has plenty of pedigree. He has featured in each of the past six editions – three as a player followed by three as a vice-captain – and led the USA to a resounding 19-11 victory in the Presidents Cup in 2017.

Fred Couples

Couples is someone who would command huge respect from Team USA.

He was the first American to top the official world golf rankings in 1992 and was a two-time winner of the Ryder Cup as a player; featuring as a vice-captain in the 2012 edition took his total involvements to six.

Couples captained the US to three straight Presidents Cup triumphs from 2009 to 2013 and was a vice for the next two, but in 2017 he stated he felt his opportunity to oversee a Ryder Cup had “passed by”.

David Duval

The fact Duval’s first appearance as a Ryder Cup vice-captain came at Le Golf National makes him more of an outside contender for the top position.

He knows what it takes to win having been part of the triumphant 1999 team at Brookline, but 2020 may come too soon for the former world number one and 2001 Open Championship winner.

Tiger Woods

Considered among the greatest to play the game, Woods got his first taste of Ryder Cup leadership by serving as a vice-captain to Davis Love III at Hazeltine in 2016 as a string of back issues blighted his illustrious career.

He will lead the US at the Presidents Cup this year, most likely as a playing captain, and is sure to oversee a Ryder Cup campaign in future.

However, having returned as a player in last year’s defeat in France, Woods will likely be keen for a similar role at Whistling Straits.

Phil Mickelson

Like Woods, Mickelson endured a dismal campaign at Le Golf National as he failed to pick up a single point.

The five-time major champion is nailed on to be a captain at some stage, but next year’s event may well come too soon for him. Making his 13th Ryder Cup appearance as a player is more likely to be his focus.