Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will headline a blue-ribbon task force that will examine the U.S. Ryder Cup process, from how captains and players are selected to the schedule of events and how the team prepares for the matches.
The 11-member panel includes incoming PGA of America president Derek Sprague and CEO Pete Bevacqua, who will co-chair the task force, and PGA secretary Paul Levy. They will be joined on the task force by former captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III.
“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.”
Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Rickie Fowler round out the task force, which is conspicuously missing Paul Azinger, the last winning U.S. captain (2008) and the man most-often mentioned as the next captain.
“I think Paul felt more comfortable with us talking in a small setting,” said Bevacqua, who confirmed Azinger was asked to be a member of the task force.
The move to include Fowler, who at 25 is the youngest member of the panel, is an indication that officials are looking for a long-term solution to the U.S. team’s Ryder Cup woes after losing eight of the last 10 matches.
Video: Mickelson's thoughts on task force
“We wanted that perspective,” Bevacqua said on Tuesday’s “Morning Drive.” “We wanted a young gun. This isn’t about 2016, it’s about going forward the next 20 years.”
The inclusion of Woods and Mickelson – who some say initiated the current reform movement with his direct comments last month following the U.S. team’s five-point loss at Gleneagles – gives the task force instant credibility among players and the experience of a combined 17 Ryder Cup starts.
“It makes a big statement in my opinion,” said Furyk from the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. “But we have a lot of work to do. I thought it was a wonderful idea and I’m really excited and anxious to hear the ideas.”
The concept for the task force was devised on the chartered flight home from Scotland and the PGA began looking for the right mix of current and former players on Oct. 3.
“It’s time to sit back and take a full analysis of what we are doing with the Ryder Cup,” said Sprague, who takes over from Ted Bishop as president of the PGA this fall.
Because of the creation of the task force, Bishop told GolfChannel.com last week that an announcement on who will captain the 2016 team will not be made until next year.