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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Associated Press sources: Zach Johnson hired as US Ryder Cup captain

Two-time major champion Zach Johnson is taking over as Ryder Cup captain, leading an American side trying to end 30 years without a victory on European soil.

Three people with knowledge of the decision confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the PGA of America has yet to announce Johnson’s selection.

The decision is not a surprise. Johnson has been an assistant captain each of the last two matches, and the US team has moved toward captains with previous involvement.

The 2023 matches are scheduled for Marco Simone in Italy. The Americans are coming off the country’s biggest Ryder Cup rout, beating Europe 19-9 at Whistling Straits last September with Wisconsin native Steve Stricker as the captain.

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Stricker was part of the Ryder Cup committee — three PGA Tour players and three PGA of America executives — that picked the next captain.

Europe has yet to announce its next captain, a process that has been slowed as some candidates contemplated joining a Saudi-funded rival league that has yet to get off the ground.

Johnson played in five Ryder Cups, part of a hardscrabble career that began with him driving the country to play on mini-tours out of college and now includes 12 wins on the PGA Tour, including the Masters in 2007 and the British Open in 2015 at St. Andrews.

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Once a self-described as a “normal guy” from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he joined Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead as the only players to win at Augusta National and St. Andrews.

The Americans have won the Ryder Cup only four of the last 13 times, and their last victory away from home was in 1993 at The Belfry in England.

The Ryder Cup moved back to odd-numbered years when the 2020 matches were postponed one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whistling Straits had a full house of fans, but because of travel restrictions, they where overwhelming Americans.

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More Associated Press golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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