With the Ryder Cup still more than 10 months away, former European captain Paul McGinley said it is "a bit strange" that the Americans have already named four of their five vice captains for Hazeltine.
On Wednesday, U.S. captain Davis Love III announced that Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker will join Tom Lehman as vice captains for the 2016 matches. A fifth assistant will be named at a later date.
Woods said that his goal is to be a playing assistant, while Furyk and Stricker are focused on either making the team or serving in a leadership role.
McGinley, who led the Europeans to victory in 2014 at Gleneagles, their sixth win in the last seven cups, said Thursday that he doesn't understand why the Americans have already begun formulating a plan.
“I really haven’t figured it out yet,” McGinley said on Sky Sports. “One of the things that came out of the task force was that they were going to have a succession plan in place. It’s quite clear that they will be captains at some stage in the future, so maybe it’s part of that succession plan.
“But I’m surprised that they’ve done it so early. Normally, in Europe, we might announce one or two vice captains well in advance, but we don’t really until the 11th hour. We give everyone the best chance they have of making the team.”
McGinley pointed to Jim Furyk, who turns 46 in May but is still one of the Americans’ best players. Furyk won his first tournament since 2010 at the RBC Heritage, was one of the top contenders for the FedEx Cup before a wrist injury, and currently sits 10th in the Ryder Cup points standings. He has a 10-20-4 record in nine appearances in the biennial event.
“Is his mind going to be swayed by the fact that he was announced early as a vice captain?” McGinley said. “We’re going to have to wait and see. But it is a bit strange.”
Love said Wednesday that the reason he wanted to name the assistants so early was because “we’ve got to get to work.”
The event begins Sept. 30.