The last time the Ryder Cup was hosted on European soil, Jim Furyk was captaining the United States team. Unable to lead his side to victory while ultimately losing 17.5 to 10.5 to the Europeans in the 2018 Ryder Cup, the 17-time winner on the PGA Tour understands what works and what doesn’t work in a team’s locker room.
While Furyk was the captain, vice captains David Duval, Matt Kuchar and 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson were instrumental in providing additional support. With the Ryder Cup traveling to Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, Italy, later this year, Johnson has already called upon the services of Davis Love III and Steve Stricker with more vice captains to follow.
On Thursday, Furyk joined CBS Sports HQ at the 2023 PGA Show and offered what he believes to be the most important advice for a successful Ryder Cup captain.
“The staff that you bring on, the players you bring on as vice captains are going to be key for you [the captain] — the eyes, the ears that you have on the golf course,” said Furyk. “Being a vice captain in the Ryder Cup, you’re intimately involved with a group. You usually have a group of guys, four guys you’re involved with, you’re out on the golf course following every single shot of a match for every session and you’re the captain’s eyes and ears.
“The captain becomes more like the CEO; he doesn’t see a lot of golf. You have to rely, you have to depend — the folks on TV are watching every shot, or a lot of them. The captain himself sees very, very, very little golf, basically par 3s … so you really have to rely on your staff and the folks you bring out there.”
Furyk continued: “At the end of the day I liked being the captain and I liked being the vice captain as well because you just got so involved and got to see so much golf, and I was pulling so hard for those two guys, but ultimately it was my job to go back to the captain and tell him here’s what I am seeing out there, here’s who’s playing well, here’s who’s not, they would be better fit for this format, that format. I just loved that part of it. I think every captain is surprised at how little golf they actually see during the week. I knew it, I was prepared for it and I was still shocked at how little golf I saw at the end of the week in Paris.”
Furyk most recently served as a vice captain under Stricker in the U.S. team’s 19 to 9 rout of Europe in the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. With Johnson still needing to round out his leadership room for Rome, it will be interesting to see if Furyk once again gets the nod.