Fred Couples, who captained the United States Presidents Cup team to victories in 2009, ’11 and ’13, doesn’t think the newly formed 11-member task force will solve the Americans’ Ryder Cup woes.
“I don’t think anyone should panic,” Couples told reporters at the Champions Tour season finale in Arizona. “I don’t think we need a task force. I don’t think we need the PGA of America straining about this.
“What I really think they need is to get players that have been on a lot of these teams to get a feel for what kind of captain they need.”
After a third straight defeat in the biennial matches, one theory being bandied about is that the PGA of America might turn to someone who helped the Americans to so much success in the Presidents Cup, namely Couples, the 1992 Masters champion. In his career, Couples played in five Ryder Cups and owns a 7-9-4 record, including 1-5-1 in foursomes where the Americans lost 7-1 at Gleneagles in 2014. He was also vice-captain for Team USA at the 2012 Ryder Cup that the U.S. lost in heartbreaking fashion at Medinah outside Chicago.
So what kind of captain would Couples be?
“I think the easiest part is just really not panicking,” he said. “You’ve got to have your teams ready and just get points, and it’s not easy to do. They make it look easy because they’re winning and their formula, whatever it might be, is not because they’re closer and they’re friendlier to each other. That’s the biggest crazy thing ever.
“Every team I’ve been on has been phenomenal, and I’m sure every team Europe’s ever had has been phenomenal. They just win, so it looks easier.”
“I think anyone would love to be the Ryder Cup captain. I particularly don’t think it’s really that hard to do, I really don’t. I keep hearing it’s a two-year process. Well, what would I do right now? I don’t even know who’s going to be on the Presidents Cup team, let alone the Ryder Cup team. So I could go have dinner with Rickie Fowler for two straight years and tell him everything, and then he might not make it.
“So I think it’s all — it’s just a little bit much. We need a little more fun and that comes with winning.”
Couples questioned 2014 U.S. captain Tom Watson’s decision to sit five-time major winner and Ryder Cup stalwart Phil Mickelson for both Saturday sessions.
“I know one thing, I will play Phil Mickelson on Saturday of the next Ryder Cup if he’s on the team,” Couples told reporters. “That was the only thing I could see that maybe you could say that Tom, something happened there.
“Because we lost three and a half to a half [in the foursomes session], and I guarantee you it was because Phil wasn’t out there playing. I guarantee it.”
The 2016 Ryder Cup will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.