Time for U.S. Ryder Cup task force to take action


Insanity [in-san-i-ty] noun. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

 SAN DIEGO – Give the PGA of America credit.

 The alternative, of course, was to dip back into the status quo, pluck a fifty-something former major champion from the archives to captain the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team and blindly hope that he can stem Europe’s dominance in the biennial blowout that has gone to the continent in eight out of the last 10 meetings.

But the answer, for all the well-intended ideals, is not a task force. Player input? Sure, that would be great. A more detailed plan? Absolutely. Just don’t turn it into a free-form jam session that doesn’t appear to have an end in sight.

The PGA confirmed the task force met on Monday in San Diego. And for the record, that’s the only thing the association was willing to say.

“We did have a meeting that went incredibly well and built off of the momentum of our first meeting,” PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua told Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte. “The process is not yet complete but I feel I can speak for everyone on the task force when I say that we are all excited about the direction of our discussions.”

Anything beyond that has turned into a national secret, with the PGA installing a gag order when it comes to all things task force.

A source familiar with the meetings told GolfChannel.com that the task force has had “several productive meetings” but not to expect any type of announcement until the spring regarding the ’16 captain or anything else.

Like most meetings, this thing has jumped the proverbial shark. On this, last year’s U.S. captain Tom Watson had it right. “It’s not pods. It’s 12 players,” said Watson in the dusk of last year’s defeat at Gleneagles.

Old Tom probably feels the same about meetings.

The “Task Force 11” can talk this thing in circles but the essence of victory should have taken all of 20 seconds in the group’s initial meet-and-greet in December.

Bevacqua: “I’d like to open the floor to ideas.”

Tiger Woods: “Make Fred (Couples) the captain.”

Jim Furyk: “I second that.”

Davis Love III: “Third.”

Phil Mickelson: “And make Paul Azinger his assistant captain.”

The “ayes” have it.

Couples’ 3-0 run as a Presidents Cup captain is all the argument one needs to name Captain Cool America’s next front man.

Maybe it’s his hands-free attitude or laid-back demeanor that makes Couples such an effective captain. Maybe it’s his ability to lighten a team room and an entourage that includes Michael Jordan. Who cares?

If the PGA is serious about changing America’s Ryder Cup fortunes give Couples the keys to the fancy golf cart and let him ride with ’Zinger in tow.

The consensus on Tour is that Couples would be considered an inspired choice but some suggest the structured confines of the Ryder Cup, with all the pre-match obligations and 24-month news cycle, wouldn’t be conducive to his brand of magic.

But even that meeting could be quick and concise. If Freddie doesn’t want to be the PGA’s show pony for two years, than let him fly under the public radar. If Couples doesn’t look forward to a hectic dance card of endless official functions, than set up a few ping-pong tables in the team room and lock the door until the Day 1 matches.

The task force, which includes at least two future captains (Woods and Mickelson) and another (Furyk) who has the markings of a truly inspired choice to lead the team one day, started out with the best of intentions. In fact, it was Furyk who summed up the American mood during that tense post-match press conference last September and laid the groundwork for the task force.

“If I could put my finger on it, I would have changed this sh*t a long time ago but we haven't and we are going to keep searching,” he said.

The task force has now had multiple meetings to conjure up some answers, but it appears as if they are no closer to a solution than they were when they boarded the plane in September to leave Scotland.

This one, it seems, has been talked into the ground. It’s time to adjourn and move on.