Here’s what a Ryder Cup captain does behind the scenes

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Being the Ryder Cup Captain involves a heck of a lot more than making picks and sending out lineups.

In fact, most of a captain’s responsibilities begin months, sometimes years, before the teams are even known for the biannual matches.

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson broke down some of his duties in the leadup to the next month’s Ryder Cup at Marco Simone in Rome to co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz.

“A lot of it’s media-driven,” Johnson said. “A lot of it’s actually getting the hype going. And, you know, I got the ask in February of [2022], so we were only at that point, what, four or five months removed from [the 2021 Ryder Cup in] Wisconsin?

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Zephyr Melton

“As of late, yes, everything is starting to ramp up. Whether it’s Zoom calls, dinners, decision-making on what’s going to take place at the hotel, catering here, catering there. The team room, what’s that look like? A gym? What do you want at the golf course? Where are the physios? Where are the locker rooms? How do they look?”

But while the buck does theoretically stop with Johnson, he admitted there are other decision-makers involved too.

“I have a lot to say in that,” Johnson said. “But my wife probably has more say on those items.”

While Johnson said that his job is really starting to ramp up in terms of who actually makes the team and then who will pair with who and play on which days, there are also some aspects of the job that depend on where the Ryder Cup is.

For example, this year, with Europe hosting, European Captain Luke Donald will get to set up Marco Simone in ways to help give his team an advantage.

For more from Johnson, including the moment he found out he was going to be captain, his practice swing yips and Justin Thomas’ Ryder Cup chances, check out the full episode below.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at



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