Ryder Cup: Zach Johnson named US captain

Zach Johnson Ryder Cup Captain

It's official: Zach Johnson is the new US Ryder Cup captain.

As was widely expected, the 45-year-old has been unveiled as Steve Stricker's successor and will lead the US into their trophy defence at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in 2023.

Two-time major champion Johnson - who was 17-years-old when the United States last won the Ryder Cup on European soil - broke the news in a social media post.

"What an unbelievable honor to be your next @RyderCupUSA Team Captain," wrote Johnson. "Time to lead #RyderCupUSA to victory!"

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In a subsequent press conference, he added: "I'm excited. I have all the emotions running through me. Just knowing I can lead this great team in Italy and represent my country again is flattering."

Johnson confirmed that he will also be continuing with the qualifying system deployed for the most recent match in 2021, meaning he will have six picks in addition to six automatic qualifiers.

Steve Stricker, who led the team to a record-breaking at Whistling Straits last year, has also come on-board as the first of Johnson's vice-captains.

The decision to hand the Ryder Cup reins to Johnson comes as very little surprise.

Five times a player in the biennial contest, Johnson has served as a vice-captain for each of the last two matches, first under Jim Furyk at Le Golf National in 2018 and, more recently, Stricker last year.

Europe, meantime, has still to announce its new skipper to replace Padraig Harrington.

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A decision had been expected in January but deliberations have dragged on, in part because of the noise created by the so-called Saudi Golf League.

Lee Westwood removed himself from consideration for the job late last year. Henrik Stenson was thought to be the most likely beneficiary of the Englishman's withdrawal but his position is complicated due to reported SGL overtures being made in his direction. 

Luke Donald now appears to be the most likely candidate for the job but others in the frame are reported to include Robert Karlsson and Paul Lawrie.

The 2023 Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club from September 29 to October 1.

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