Ryder Cup: Zach Johnson named US captain to face Europe in Italy in 2023


Zach Johnson at the 2021 Ryder Cup
Zach Johnson has twice been a US vice-captain – in Wisconsin last year and in Paris in 2018

Zach Johnson will captain the United States Ryder Cup team against Europe in Rome in 2023 as they look to end a run of 30 years without an away victory.

He was a vice-captain to Steve Stricker who led the US to a record 19-9 win at Whistling Straits last September.

Two-time major winner Johnson, 46, played in five Ryder Cups, losing four and winning his final one in 2016.

The 44th edition of the biennial event will be held at Italy’s Marco Simone Golf Club from 29 September-1 October.

“To accept this captaincy, to lead this United States Ryder Cup Team abroad – after what we accomplished last year at Whistling Straits – is simply the greatest honour of my professional career,” said Johnson who won the 2007 Masters and 2015 Open Championship.

“As exciting as this is for both my family and me, it is equally sobering to understand the scope of our challenge in Rome, as we have not won on the road in three decades.”

The US’ last away win was a 15-13 victory at The Belfry in Warwickshire in 1993.

Johnson, who is the 30th US captain, immediately installed Stricker as one of his vice-captains.

The 12-strong team will be made up of the top six players on the US points list, with Johnson getting six captain’s picks, which he will announce after the 2023 Tour Championship in late August.

Europe are yet to name their captain but Padraig Harrington’s successor is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

England’s Luke Donald, 44, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, 45, and Robert Karlsson, 52, and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, 53 are among those in contention. The first three were all vice-captains to Harrington at last year’s contest in Wisconsin.

Lee Westwood, 48, was favourite to land the role before ruling himself out to focus on his own game and try to qualify for what would be a record-equalling 12th appearance – drawing him level with American Phil Mickelson.

The Englishman, who shares the record for most European appearances with Nick Faldo, said at last week’s Honda Classic that Donald and Stenson “are probably the two who are out front at the moment”.

“They’re a little bit younger and a little bit more in tune with the current players,” he added.

More to follow.

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