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Ryder Cup winner Matt Kuchar has defended Zach Johnson after the United States’ blowout in Italy last week.

The 45-year-old believes criticism aimed at this year’s losing Ryder Cup captain is unwarranted, as Team USA’s players didn’t show up.

Ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Kuchar told “A lot of fault tends to be put on the captains and leaders and I don’t know if I buy that.

“It’s the players and the guys on the team who are the ones making the difference.

“I’m sure Zach did everything to put his guys in the best position to play well, but it comes down to them performing, and Europe outperformed Team USA.

“I’m a big fan of Zach, and I was hoping for some big success. I liked a lot of the things he was doing going in.

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“It’s funny with the pairings you hear all the Monday morning quarterbacking from the media that he messed up with certain pairings and should’ve put out other pairings.

“You can look back and try to change it, but Team Europe outplayed the US, and I’m not sure there were a lot of captaincy errors.”

The defending Ryder Cup champions were swept aside in convincing fashion at Marco Simone, as Johnson’s pairings were called into question.

The 47-year-old’s team failed to show any resemblance to their performance at Whistling Straits in 2021.

And Kuchar, who has played in four cups, backed Justin Thomas’ inclusion while arguing Keegan Bradley should have been in Rome.

He said: “I think Keegan was the tough one not to have on the team, he was playing well. I’m sure that would have been a very difficult phone call for Zach to make.

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“It was great to see Justin Thomas on the team and see him play well.

“He has certainly proved his value over the years, and although he was the questionable pick, he clearly showed he belongs to be out there.”

Kuchar has the captaincy role in his sights in the future, although the nine-time PGA Tour winner has ruled himself out of taking the armband in 2025.

Tiger Woods and Fred Couples are the current front-runners to lead the USA at Bethpage Black, in New York.

Kuchar remains hopeful he will play a part in two years’ time, though, as a player.

He added: “(Bethpage) won’t be my cup. I certainly hope to be a Ryder Cup captain at some point, and it will be an exciting one either way, but I definitely hope to be playing in that team.

“There’s no year that I would ever say no. I don’t think I could pick a year to be captain, just what an honour it would be.”

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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