By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 19/02/19 4:44pm
Steve Stricker is the hot favourite to be named as Team USA Ryder Cup captain for 2020 at a PGA of America press conference on Wednesday.
Stricker has emerged as the strongest candidate to take over the role from Jim Furyk as the Americans bid to atone for their seven-point drubbing against Thomas Bjorn’s inspired European team at Le Golf National.
A 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, Stricker made three Ryder Cup appearances as a player and has served as an assistant captain to Davis Love III and Furyk in the last two contests.
Stricker, who will celebrate his 52nd birthday on Saturday, enhanced his credentials for the role when he skippered Team USA to a resounding 19-11 win over Nick Price’s International team at the 2017 Presidents Cup in New Jersey.
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He will also serve as vice-captain to Tiger Woods in this year’s edition in Melbourne, although he is likely to take on a more significant role if, as expected, Woods qualifies for the team as a player.
His appointment would also be a popular choice among the local golf fans who plan to watch the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, with Stricker a lifelong resident in the state and currently living in Madison, less than 100 miles from the venue for next year’s showpiece.
Stricker made no secret of his desire to take on the job when interviewed at the Sony Open in January, where he said: “It’s something that I would be truly honoured and excited to do right there in my home state of Wisconsin and right down the road, couple hours down the road.
“But no one knows yet for sure. Got to hold off and put it in the PGA of America’s hands, and the committee that’s making the decision and go from there. I’m helping Tiger at the end of this year, and I enjoy being a part of that process with whoever the captain may be.”
Stricker is highly-likely to be unveiled at Wednesday’s press conference, which will be screened live on Sky Sports News at approximately 2pm (GMT), with three-time Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples set to be overlooked once again.
David Duval is another possible candidate, while Woods and Phil Mickelson are almost certain to skipper the team in future but both will fancy their chances of playing at Whistling Straits, although the latter will be eligible for the PGA Tour Champions by then as he turned 50 next June.
Europe have already begun preparations for their defence of the trophy after Padraig Harrington was announced as the successor to Bjorn last month, while Lee Westwood is currently favourite to lead the side in Italy in 2022.
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