U.S. team golf should follow lead of USA Basketball


Coach Mike Krzyzewski led USA Basketball to a World Cup victory in September. (Getty)

People are screaming from the mountaintop that the Americans need to blow up the current system for selecting a Ryder Cup captain. I’d agree, but I’m not exactly sure how the current system is concocted.

Word is the PGA of America gets three high-ranking officials in a room, throws out names of candidates and goes from there. In the past the candidates have won at least one major and the officials hope like hell it happens to be a PGA Championship winner. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

I’m sure the process is more structured than that, but it doesn’t appear that way.

Time to blow the box up and live outside it. The U.S. needs to find someone to commit to a four-year stint as captain of Team USA Golf. This would allow one person to captain the U.S. for a home and away Ryder Cup and a home and away Presidents Cup.

Think USA Basketball for a moment. Ten years ago it was floundering and hired former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo to provide stability, help recruit a legitimate team and find a steady force to coach. Two years after that, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was hired. The rest is history.

Golf needs to mimic this model and find someone who can provide a strong, guiding force over American team competitions. This person’s sole purpose would be to hang with potential team members, work on creating new partnerships, play Tuesday money games, get to know family members, send Christmas cards during the holidays, create trust and camaraderie.

I don’t even particularly care if the captain is a professional golfer. Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, Bob Knight or Phil Jackson may be a little too old school for the job, but a legendary coach who has a winning track record in another sport should not be dismissed. If you’re a motivator, and you’re a winner, don’t be afraid to apply. Assistant captains can handle the behind-the-scenes minutiae.

Look, I understand that this is pie in the sky and something like this will never happen. Although the PGA Tour (Presidents Cup) and the PGA of America (Ryder Cup) play nice there are too many competing interests to have the same person captain both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. The almighty dollar still appears powerful.

All this comes from an American journalist who couldn’t care less who wins and finds the Europeans much more likable. I just want to see the Ryder Cup become more competitive than it has been over the past two decades.