Thursday July 18th, 2024 8:12AM

Americans will finally announce their Ryder Cup captain

By The Associated Press

Finding the next American captain of the Ryder Cup was never supposed to be this complicated or take this long.

The long wait ends when the PGA of America introduces its next captain on Tuesday. It scheduled a news conference for noon in New York at the NASDAQ building, seizing on the glitz of Manhattan to promote matches that will be held Sept. 26-28, 2025, on Long Island at Bethpage Black.

For the last three decades, the Americans have chosen their Ryder Cup captain at least 18 months before the matches.

So much of the delay has been discussions with Tiger Woods, the first choice for the Americans. Speculation has been eerily quiet over the last six weeks.

Woods said at the PGA Championship in May, “we're still working on what that might look like.”

“Also whether or not I have the time to do it,” Woods said at Valhalla. “I’m dedicating so much time to what we’re doing with the PGA Tour. I don’t want to not fulfill the role of the captaincy if I can’t do it.”

Woods was given a seat without limits on the PGA Tour board last summer, and since then he has become vice chairman for the commercial PGA Tour Enterprises board that is trying to hammer out an investment deal with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf.

Seth Waugh, who stepped down as CEO at the PGA of America last week, had said in May that Woods “doesn't do anything that he's not fully committed to, and we totally respect that.”

Without Woods — long seen as the logical choice for the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Ireland — there is a gap in potential captains that was never supposed to happen.

Phil Mickelson was the obvious choice when the PGA of America announced in 2013 that the matches would be held at Bethpage in 2024 (now 2025 because of the one-year delay from the COVID-19 pandemic).

Mickelson was a runner-up twice in the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, to Woods in 2002 and to Lucas Glover in 2009. He long has been a fan favorite at majors in New York.

But then he became a chief recruiter for LIV Golf and was suspended by the PGA Tour even before Mickelson signed with the Saudi league in 2022.

Even though the Ryder Cup allows for LIV Golf players to compete — Brooks Koepka was chosen for Rome in 2023 — Mickelson has lost favor with several top players because of his promotion of the rival league.

Among potential candidates are Stewart Cink, a former British Open champion who was an assistant in Rome. Fred Couples is close with Woods, though he would be 65 when the Ryder Cup is played.

Waugh wasn't worried about waiting so long to find a captain. He noted that for the last Ryder Cup, Luke Donald didn't take over the European team until 14 months out, after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the job for joining LIV.

Europe won at Marco Simone, and Donald was appointed to the job for Bethpage Black.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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