Jim Furyk has been named as the United States captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France.
The PGA of America has announced the 46-year-old, a veteran of nine playing appearances, will succeed Davis Love as the US seek to defend the trophy they won at Hazeltine last October.
Fred Couples was also a leadership contender for the match at Le Golf National near Paris but Furyk, a vice-captain to Love last year, was the preferred choice of the US Ryder Cup committee.
Furyk, the 2003 US Open champion, offers continuity and boasts plenty of Ryder Cup experience. His nine appearances came in succession from 1997-2014 and he was seriously considered for a wildcard by Love at Hazeltine.
Furyk was ultimately overlooked for a playing role but remained on the team as one of Love’s assistants as the US won for the first time since 2008.
Speaking at a press conference broadcast on Sky Sports News, Furyk said: “This is such an honour. I’m actually a little overwhelmed.
“It’s no secret, it’s been my favourite event my entire career. In my opinion the Ryder Cup embodies everything that is special about golf.
“It has the team work, the camaraderie, the competition, the passion, it brings fans together from worldwide. I just get chills thinking about all the events I’ve been able to participate in and now to sit here as the captain for 2018 is such an honour.”
.@JimFuryk names Davis Love III a Vice-Captain for 2018.
— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) January 11, 2017
In a role reversal from Hazeltine, Love will serve as one of Furyk’s vice-captains in France, it was also announced.
Furyk said: “I remember sitting in the room and knowing in my heart Davis was the best person to lead this team in 2016. Davis is going to be a very tough act to follow. He put a system in place and got the players behind it.
“It won’t make my task easy but it is comforting knowing there is a system in place.
“So, as the first order of my presidency, I want to make sure everyone knows Davis Love III will be my vice-captain for 2018.”
Furyk will pit his wits against Thomas Bjorn, who was named as Europe’s captain last month.
He said: “Thomas is a friend, someone I look forward to sharing this process with – in a friendly manner, done well and done right.
“Thomas will be a great leader. I know the team is going to be strong. They are not going to be happy about the result at Hazeltine and as always the European crowd will be in full force. That whole atmosphere is going to provide a very difficult challenge for Team USA.
“We haven’t won on foreign soil since 1993. We have got our work cut out but I am really excited about rolling up my sleeves and getting started.”
Despite Furyk’s vast playing experience in the event, he has actually only finished on the winning side twice, in 1999 and 2008. This he alluded as he spoke to media.
He said: “I will use my experiences – both good and bad. I think you can learn a lot from your mistakes. If you look at my record, I’ve learned a lot – put it that way!
“I have had a few mistakes along the way but I’ve got two years now to form the best way to run this team and I am looking forward to it.”
— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) January 11, 2017
Bjorn reciprocated those sentiments, tweeting: “Congratulations to Jim Furyk for becoming @RyderCupUSA captain. Jim, I’m looking forward to our shared times ahead.”
Furyk is currently ranked 37 in the world and, as someone still in regular action and competitive on the PGA Tour, it is not inconceivable he could still qualify as a player. There has not been a playing captain, however, since Arnold Palmer led the US in 1963.
When asked about the possibility of playing, Furyk did not immediately rule it out.
He told BBC Radio Five Live: “My thoughts are first and foremost on doing the best job I possibly can as captain.
“Being ranked 37 in the world and shooting a 58 last year, I was asked if it was possible. It may be possible but we have two years to talk about that whole issue.
“Quite honestly it is the furthest thing from my mind right now. Right now I’m excited about being the captain in 2018.”Tags: Jim Furyk, Ryder Cup