Steve Stricker is confident changes to the qualification criteria will help Team USA be fully prepared for the 2020 Ryder Cup.

Stricker was named as the next United States captain on Wednesday, the 51-year-old handed the chance to lead his country in his home state of Wisconsin next year.

Whistling Straits will host the event against a European team led by Padraig Harrington in September 2020, and the PGA Tour have altered their schedule to ensure the American players are well rested.

Players will be able to earn automatic qualification points until next year's BMW Championship in late August, with Stricker confirming his four captain's picks on September 1 after the Tour Championship.

That means he will have three weeks to get his team prepared to try and wrestle the cup back from their European rivals.

Speaking at his presentation on Wednesday, Striker said: "With the change to the scheduling on the PGA Tour we have now a three-week period between the Ryder Cup points and the Ryder Cup itself. 

"We have this time to make those selections, get everybody on board and [on] the same page, formalise our team, work on the pairings, give our guys an opportunity to rest, get ready, get their games in shape and then take part in the Ryder Cup. 

"I think it's a good move. We've experienced where we waited on our pick last year, that too provides a few issues, now we've formalised a really good system here and it should be really good."

Team USA have only won two of the last nine editions of the tournament, with Europe regaining the trophy last year thanks to a 17.5-10.5 victory in Paris.

Stricker admits Europe's recent dominance is hard to take, but is confident the American players will give everything to claim a win.

"That [Europe's dominance] is something that we're always asking ourselves too," he added.

"We don't lack passion or the intensity or the players, we've got some of the best players in the world and so do they. They've just come up with key putts. 

"I truly believe in home advantage, the [Paris] course was tailor-made for them, we just didn’t play well, it was a tough turnaround from the [FedEx] play-offs and Tour Championship to hop on a plane. They're doing the same too, I'm not making excuses, but they rolled with it, they hit some of those key putts and at times we haven't been able to do it. But other times we have.

"This is a new year, a new Ryder Cup, I'm looking forward to it, our guys are looking forward to it, it stung again last year after winning at Hazeltine so the guys are fired up already and are ready to get it back."

Steve Stricker says his predecessor Jim Furyk was an obvious choice to be named as his first Ryder Cup vice-captain.

An emotional Stricker was on Wednesday confirmed as USA captain for the 2020 event at Whistling Straits.

The 51-year-old also revealed that Furyk will assist him after captaining his country in the defeat to Europe at Le Golf National last year.

Stricker thinks Furyk can have a big influence in the event next September.

"In keeping with the consistency that the Ryder Cup Committee has put forward for us, I have Jim Furyk as my first vice-captain," said Stricker, who will captain his country in his home state of Wisconsin.

"Jim and I are friends, we go way back to almost rookie years together. He was a vice-captain for me at the Presidents Cup [in 2017], I was with him last year in Paris.

"He's truly a great guy, he brings a lot to the table. He's a good guy, he means a lot to me and he'll be very beneficial for the team."

Steve Stricker was confirmed as the new captain of the United States' Ryder Cup team on Wednesday, meaning the Wisconsin native will lead his country in his home state at Whistling Straits in 2020.

The appointment of Stricker follows Padraig Harrington being announced as Europe's captain for next year's event.

An emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National in September 2018 saw Europe regain the trophy under Thomas Bjorn, as the likes of Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter played starring roles.

Yet while Europe have won six successive home Ryder Cups, their recent record on American soil has been mixed.

We take a look at the last five editions of the event in the USA.

 

2016 - Hazeltine

Result: United States 17 - 11 Europe

Europe had won three Ryder Cups in a row ahead of the 2016 event, but they were in for a shock at Hazeltine.

Darren Clarke's hopes of masterminding victory suffered a hammer blow on the first morning as the United States, captained by Davis Love III, pulled off a clean sweep of the Friday foursomes.

Rookies Thomas Pieters and Rafael Cabrera-Bello impressed as Europe narrowed their deficit, but the USA regained control in the second fourball session and went on to triumph by a six-point margin, the talismanic Patrick Reed defeating Rory McIlroy in a dramatic opening singles match to set the tone for the hosts.

2012 - Medinah

Result: United States 13.5 - 14.5 Europe

Is it really more than six years since the 'Miracle of Medinah'?

In the first Ryder Cup since the death of European icon Seve Ballesteros, the Spaniard's close friend Jose Maria Olazabal oversaw the most remarkable of comebacks to ensure Europe retained the trophy they had claimed at Celtic Manor two years earlier.

The USA were 10-4 up on Saturday afternoon, having won five of the day's first six contests.

However, Europe crucially won the last two fourball contests, with Poulter the architect of an astonishing turnaround in the anchor match.

Poulter and his team-mates then overhauled a four-point deficit in the singles, something that had only happened once before in Ryder Cup history, with Martin Kaymer sinking the winning putt to spark emotional scenes of celebration from the visiting team.

2008 - Valhalla

Result: United States 16.5 - 11.5 Europe

No European golfer in the professional era has claimed more major titles than Nick Faldo's six and the Englishman was also the most prolific points scorer in Ryder Cup history before Garcia moved past his tally of 25 at Le Golf National.

However, Faldo was nowhere near as successful in a miserable stint as Europe's captain, which yielded a heavy defeat to Paul Azinger's United States team at Valhalla.

The infamous 'sandwich-gate' incident - in which Faldo was photographed holding an apparent list of pairings only to then claim, somewhat unfeasibly, it was a list of lunch requests - was not the only gaffe made by the former world number one before the event had even begun.

Europe were then handsomely beaten when the action did get under way, trailing throughout on their way to a 16.5-11.5 loss.

Hunter Mahan was the leading points-scorer for the USA, who prevailed in seven of the 12 Sunday singles contests, but the likes of Anthony Kim, Boo Weekley, Justin Leonard and J.B. Holmes were among others to play starring roles.

 

2004 - Oakland Hills

Result: United States 9.5 - 18.5 Europe

In contrast to Faldo, the meticulous Bernhard Langer did not put a foot wrong in 2004 as Europe stormed to victory by a record margin at Oakland Hills.

Every member of Langer's team contributed at least a point, with wildcard selections Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald among those to excel in a stunningly one-sided match.

In contrast, a USA team led by Hal Sutton and featuring three of the world's top 10 failed to deliver, with Chris DiMarco the only player to score more than two points for the hosts.

Montgomerie, in his penultimate Ryder Cup appearance as a player, famously holed the winning putt and went on to say: "That singles win over David Toms, in fact that whole week, rejuvenated me and my career."

 

1999 - Brookline

Result: United States 14.5 - 13.5 Europe

Prior to Europe's fightback at Medinah in 2012, the only previous instance of a team coming from four points behind in the singles came at Brookline, in distinctly fractious circumstances.

Mark James was Europe's skipper for an event sadly overshadowed by boorish abuse of visiting players by a partisan crowd and raucous scenes on the 17th hole on Sunday.

A mammoth putt from Leonard prompted an invasion of the green from the US team, even though Olazabal still had a putt of his own to come.

Ben Crenshaw's USA ultimately triumphed 14.5-13.5, but the 'Battle of Brookline' would be remembered for the wrong reasons.

In a subsequent autobiography, Sam Torrance - a vice-captain for Europe that week - described the final day of the 1999 event as: "the most disgraceful and disgusting day in the history of professional golf."

Steve Stricker will captain the United States when the Ryder Cup is staged in his home state of Wisconsin in 2020.

Stricker was a vice-captain for a third time when the USA were beaten by Europe at Le Golf National last year and has landed the top job for the showpiece at Whistling Straits.

The 51-year-old, who lives just a couple of hours from the course for the 2020 event, will pit his wits against Europe captain Padraig Harrington after being confirmed as the successor to Jim Furyk, who he named as his first assistant on Wednesday.

Stricker also featured in the Ryder Cup three times as a player, winning the famous trophy on his debut in 2008 but losing the next two editions.

The 12-time winner on the PGA Tour captained his country in a 2017 Presidents Cup triumph and will be one of Tiger Woods' assistants in the 2019 competition in Melbourne in December.

An emotional Stricker said at a media conference: "Thank you to the PGA and Ryder Cup Committee for giving me this opportunity.

"It's truly a dream come true and an honour. I'm truly humbled by this opportunity, because I'm very passionate about this.

"We want to win this more than ever."

It was announced that Stricker will make four captain's selections on September 1, 2020, following the Tour Championship.

Stricker, who is Team USA's 29th Ryder Cup captain, added: "While we were disappointed with the result in Paris, I am confident the setback will fuel our preparations for what will take place at Whistling Straits.

"Europe's talent will present a great challenge, but we will be focused on what we can accomplish together in 2020 in my home state, in front of a loyal legion of sports fans in Wisconsin. It's going to be a memorable week."

The biennial event will be staged from September 25-27.

Phil Mickelson will begin his defence of the WGC-Mexico Championship title in a featured group alongside Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Mickelson claimed his 44th PGA Tour title at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week and will be participating in his 600th event on the circuit at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

He will tee it up with world number three Johnson, a two-time winner of the competition in Mexico, and Thomas – who finished second to Mickelson after a play-off last year – on Thursday and Friday.

Tiger Woods will get his debut in Mexico under way alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer, the host nation's top-ranked player.

Rickie Fowler has the second most recent PGA Tour victory in the field, having come out on top at the Phoenix Open. He has been grouped with Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed.

In the final featured group, reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Brooks Koepka will play alongside Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy.

Tiger Woods has received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after he returned to winning ways on the PGA Tour in 2018.

Following four operations on his back in the space of just over three years, 14-time major champion Woods claimed his first win in 1,876 days at the Tour Championship.

The American had to re-engineer his golf swing due to his previous injury problems, creating doubts over whether he could return to the top having previously dominated in the sport.

His triumph at East Lake came after he flirted with victory at the US PGA Championship, finishing second to Brooks Koepka.

Woods now has 80 PGA Tour titles and two more wins would put him level with Sam Snead at the top of the all-time list.

It is the 43-year-old's third Laureus award, having been named Sportsman of the Year in 2000 and 2001.

"I just want to say thank you for this opportunity," Woods said.

"I had an amazing year last year and to be recognised ... is something very special, because if you'd asked me a couple years ago would I ever be involved in the game like this I'd have given you a difference answer, and here we are. Thank you, it's such an honour."

J.B. Holmes edged out Justin Thomas to win the Genesis Open by one shot after firing a one-under 70 in the final round on Sunday.

Holmes and Thomas went toe to toe for the win, but the former secured his fifth PGA Tour victory, finishing at 14 under.

A par save on the 13th hole moved Holmes into the lead and he finished his round with pars, which was enough to secure victory.

Thomas, however, struggled as he carded two bogeys and one double bogey on the back nine. He posted a four-over 75 in the final round.

The rain-affected Genesis Open did not see any more showers on Sunday but wind was a factor as players finished their third and fourth rounds at the Riviera Country Club in California.

Rory McIlroy was in contention but struggled with the conditions. He carded three bogeys after the turn with just two birdies. A birdie and an eagle on the front nine helped McIlroy to a two-under 69. He finished the weekend in a tie for fourth place with Marc Leishman at 11 under.

"It was really tough," McIlroy said after his round. "It's gusty. You know you're hitting the right club and then the wind will gust on you and it's a tough shot."

Kim Si-woo finished his final round well before the final pairings and was able to find solace from the wind. He finished in third place at 12 under after firing off his best round of the tournament – a five-under 66.

Tiger Woods did not have the finish he was hoping for after completing a six-under 65 third round earlier in the day. He had three birdies and two eagles to move into the top 10, but he struggled in the final round.

"I got tired, I don't know if I'm the only one but I definitely felt it today," Woods said.

He finished in tied for 15th place at six under.

Rory McIlroy surged up the Genesis Open leaderboard by completing a sublime second-round 63 on Saturday, while Tiger Woods looked to have done just enough to make the cut.

Inclement weather earlier in the week at Riviera Country Club has wreaked havoc with the schedule, pushing the completion of the second round back into day three.

McIlroy, one over after his opening 18 holes, made up for lost time with a bogey-free eight-under round.

The Northern Irishman was tied fourth, four back of co-leaders Justin Thomas and Adam Scott, who were among those to have already completed round two. Thomas and Scott both followed up scores of 66 with 65s to share first place. J.B. Holmes was nine under for the tournament having played 14 holes, while a number of players were still in the early stages of their second rounds.

Woods – who along with McIlroy and Thomas was halted after 12 holes on Friday –  scrambled for a level-par 71, leaving him one under for the tournament and one stroke above the projected cut line.

The 14-time major winner made a priceless birdie at the ninth hole - his 18th - and he was confident that would keep him around for the remainder of the weekend.

"I know one under is getting in," said Woods.

Justin Thomas and Adam Scott edged into the lead at the Genesis Open before the second round was suspended due to darkness at the rain-hit tournament.

Inclement weather led to a seven-hour delay on Thursday, leaving the field playing catch up at the Riviera Country Club.

More than half the field still had to complete their first rounds when the day began in Pacific Palisades, California.

Thomas and Scott moved into 10 under on Friday, having played 12 and 11 holes respectively in their second rounds.

The first round finished late in the afternoon with J.B. Holmes in first place at eight under and Jordan Spieth one stroke behind in second. But, the leaderboard continued to change as golfers went back onto the course to start round two.

Holmes, who was able to start his second round, fell into third place at nine under while Spieth – who has yet to tee off – is tied with Luke List, who had a round of seven under going through 15 holes.

Fan favourite Tiger Woods got the crowd excited as he worked his way up, and down, the leaderboard.

Woods finished at the projected cut (one under) when the round was suspended. He was through 12.

While the delay will continue to affect the tournament throughout the weekend, Rory McIlroy made the most of his round. He moved 77 places up the leaderboard into a tie for 23rd at three under.

No player was able to finish their second round.

Matt Kuchar apologised and vowed to pay his substitute caddie David Giral Ortiz in full amid criticism.

After his first round at the Genesis Open on Friday, Kuchar issued a statement where he apologised and said he would be making full payment of the amount Ortiz requested.

Kuchar had originally paid him $5,000 following his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.

"This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse,'' Kuchar wrote.

"They made it seem like I was marginalising David Ortiz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed. That is not who I am and not what I want to represent. My entire tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity. In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or to the expectations I've set for myself.

"I let myself, my family, my partners and those close to me down, but I also let David down. I plan to call David tonight when I'm off the course to apologise for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested."

Kuchar, who ended a four-year victory drought at the Mayakoba Classic, said he and Ortiz agreed to a $3,000 payout for that week with a potential bonus that could total $4,000. Kuchar confirmed he paid Ortiz $5,000, as well as offering him an extra $15,000 – which Ortiz turned down.​

However, Kuchar earned $1,296,000 for the victory, which would have equalled a bonus of up to $129,600 – a 10 per cent bonus typically awarded to winning caddies. Ortiz said he was seeking $50,000 for his efforts, which Kuchar now promises to pay.

"I've had multiple conversations with Matt to know how devastated he is by this,'' PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told ESPN. "And candidly, how devastated I am for him that this has happened. I also know enough to know that he has been really thoughtful to know where things are at now and how to make this right, which is in the process of happening."

The nine-time tour winner added: "I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. I feel it is my duty to represent the tournament well, so I am making a donation back to the event, to be distributed to the many philanthropic causes working to positively impact the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cancun."

Rain shortened and stopped the first round of the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club, but Jordan Spieth pushed into a tie for the lead on Thursday.

Weather caused a suspension during the morning in a delay lasting seven hours and players were then unable to finish their rounds as the rain picked up and darkness fell on Pacific Palisades, California.

But Spieth and Sung Kang managed to get to five under through 12 and 14 holes respectively to be in a tie for the lead.

Spieth, who is without a win since the 2017 Open Championship, produced five birdies in his round.

Patrick Rodgers and Jimmy Walker are one stroke back in a tie for third place. Tony Finau and J.T. Poston round out the top five at three under.

Bubba Watson, the 2018 champion, is tied for 34th place after going even par through 13 holes.

The morning group still has a few holes to play. No player was able to complete their round on Thursday and the afternoon groups have yet to even start at the tournament. 

Some notable names that will finally take the course on Friday include Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.

Matt Kuchar has defended his decision to pay his caddie $5,000 after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic last year.

The American has been under fire amid reports of a money dispute with his substitute caddie Giral "El Tucan" Ortiz following the tournament in Mexico last November surfaced.

Kuchar, who ended a four-year victory drought to take the title, said he and Ortiz agreed to a $3,000 payout for the week with a potential bonus that could total $4,000.

Caddies typically earn up to 10 per cent of tournament winnings, but Kuchar confirmed he paid Ortiz $5,000, as well as offering him an extra $15,000 - which he turned down.

Kuchar told the Golf Channel: "It's kind of too bad that it's turned into a story. I really didn’t think it was a story because we had an arrangement when I started,

"I've done enough tournaments and had enough weekly caddies, and I'm very clear about what the payment will be. And we had an arrangement Tuesday that [Ortiz] was okay with, and I thought Sunday he was very much okay with it.

"I kind of feel like, unfortunately, some other people have got it in his head that he's deserving something different than what we agreed upon. And it's just too bad that its turned into a story because it doesn't need to be."

Kuchar added: "It's done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good. You can't make everybody happy. You're not going to buy people's ability to be okay with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. I think it shouldn't be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded.

"So I certainly don't lose sleep over this. This is something that I'm quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week."

Tiger Woods said Phil Mickelson's success on the PGA Tour has motivated the 14-time major champion.

American veteran Mickelson closed out his fifth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title on Monday – the 48-year-old's 44th Tour trophy and just his second since 2013.

Mickelson's success has always had a lasting impact on former world number one Woods, who is preparing for Thursday's opening round at the Genesis Open.

"What Phil has done has been extraordinary, to be that consistent for the length of time,'' Woods told reporters. "He's been out here since [1992] and made every single team [Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup] since '94. He's won major championships; he's won events.

"He's just been so consistent, and that's the hardest thing to do. Each and every one of us have enough talent to have little hot runs out here, but to sustain it for two decades like he has.''

Woods turned professional just four years after Mickelson did in 1992. The 43-year-old's 14 majors rank him second all time.

Mickelson has claimed five major championships but not since 2013, and the two have been rivals for years.

"It has always pushed me,'' said Woods, who will play alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas for the first two rounds of the Genesis Open. "I remember talking to Arnold [Palmer] and Jack [Nicklaus] about this. Any time they saw each other on the [leader]board, they would say, "What's he at? What's he at?'

"My entire career, Phil will probably attest to this, we've always looked at the board to figure out where one another's at. So, we've always had that type of enjoyment of competing against one another. And to see what he's done or to see what he did last year in Mexico at 47 years old gave me confidence that I could somehow do it, maybe last year. And I was able to finally end my season just like he did with a win."

Meanwhile, Woods confirmed he will play at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Naucalpan, Mexico next week.

"I'm playing next week,'' Woods said on Wednesday. "Beyond that, I haven't really decided on what I'm going to be doing.''

Woods is qualified to take part in 2019 World Golf Championship events because he finished among the top 30 in last season's FedEx Cup standings.

Woods has not featured in the tournament since 2014, when it was at Doral's Blue Monster, though he has won the year's first WGC event seven times.

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