Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson make for a lousy Ryder Cup twosome but the U.S. superstars are poised to team up to help revamp the Americans’ system for choosing captains and players.
Brandel Chamblee will not be happy about this.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, whom Chamblee blamed for “corrupting” the Ryder Cup experience after the Europeans decimated the Tiger-less but Phil-led Americans at Gleneagles last month, are rumored to be part of a squad whose job it will be to select future U.S. players and captains.
Never mentioned as the ultimate team player, Woods, who missed the debacle in Scotland as he continues to recover from back surgery, will ally with Mickelson and PGA Tour and Ryder Cup veterans Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, among others, on a task force charged with overhauling the total Ryder Cup approach.
— Tim Rosaforte (@TimRosaforte) October 7, 2014
The committee of some 10 to 12 members will likely consult with past players and captains, including Lefty’s favorite leader, victorious 2008 skipper Paul Azinger, according to multiple reports.
“The decision has been made to assemble a task force that will include PGA of America representation, past captains and current players to really dive into an open analysis of all aspects of the Ryder Cup to see what we can do to improve and give Team USA its very best chances of success,’’ PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua told The New York Post on Monday.
Mickelson came under fire from Chamblee and others after he hijacked the post-Ryder Cup news conference to lash out publicly at the way Tom Watson ran this year’s team. With new details dropping almost daily about the poisonous relationship between Watson and his players, many observers have credited Mickelson’s remarks with forcing change — adjustments that PGA of America officials may not have undertaken had the five-time major champion whispered his complaints offstage.
Mickelson, benched for a full day for the first time in his 10-year Ryder Cup career, reportedly mouthed opinions that other players held but declined to put on the record.
“Basically we are giving the task force a blank canvas on all things on the Ryder Cup to give the PGA some input,” PGA president Ted Bishop, who hand-picked Watson as some sort of “out of the box” experiment, told GolfChannel.com. “The PGA is willing to take a step back and listen to some people that are involved in the process.”
One welcome modification will occur almost immediately, with the PGA eliminating its practice of announcing the next captain after its annual meeting in November.
“There will be no captain announced in 2014. I don’t know what the time frame would be but we are in no hurry to make that decision. We want to give the task force a chance to weigh in on a lot of things,” Bishop said. “We don’t even have a short list of candidates [for the 2016 seat]. That discussion hasn’t been started.”