09/02/2021 at 4:31 AM CEST
. / Atlanta
Phil Mickelson will be present at his thirteenth Ryder Cup, but not as a player but as one of the assistant captains which were announced this Wednesday. Mickelson completes Steve Stricker’s five assistant captains list for the US team trying to win back the European Cup in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, from September 24-26. Fred Couples was also announced as an assistant on Wednesday, joining Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Davis Love III. “I’ve been in close contact with Freddie and Phil, talking about all things Ryder Cup, for a while now,” Stricker said. “They provide honest and impactful feedback, and they are both passionate about the Ryder Cup. I am honored that they were willing to join our team and help put us in the best position to win in a few weeks at Whistling Straits.”
Mickelson via Twitter said he was “excited and honored” and that he hopes to help in some way. He had played every Ryder Cup since going 3-0 at Oak Hill in 1995, the year before Tiger Woods turned pro, and holds the record for the most appearances by both teams. In his 12 appearances as a player, the Americans won three times. The six-time Major champion was a big part of the Ryder Cup task force that formed after the 2014 loss at Gleneagles, where Mickelson at the closing press conference questioned the PGA of America and captain Tom Watson, for moving away from a model that worked. In that task force the players had more voice in the choice of captains and the plan going forward was to serve as an assistant before becoming captain. Also, the outgoing captain would be one of the assistants at the next Ryder Cup to build continuity.
Wednesday’s announcements mean that Woods will not be in Whistling Straits as an assistant, which seemed unlikely given his injuries in the February car accident, which he suffered in California, because teams are limited to five assistant captains.
Couples was inadvertently announced Sunday by Patrick Cantlay, who clinched the sixth and final automatic spot on Team USA by winning the BMW Championship. “Fred Couples texted me this week and said it looks like he will be one of the assistant captains, and that he will be there,” Cantlay said. This will be Couples’ second time as an assistant captain in the Ryder Cup. He also served under Love at Medinah in 2012, and was one of the most popular American captains for the Presidents Cup. He led three games in a row, all victories.