Zach Johnson's Ryder Cup captaincy defended by trio of PGA Tour stars

Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Rickie Fowler have come to the defence of Zach Johnson as they assessed Team USA's Ryder Cup failure.

Ben Smith's picture
Tue, 21 Nov 2023
Zach Johnson's Ryder Cup captaincy defended by trio of PGA Tour stars

Zach Johnson has already alluded to 'time management' as one regret after watching his Team USA defeated at the Ryder Cup

But according to at least three players who teed it up in September, the 47-year-old was 'great'. 

Those three players? His captain's picks Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, along with automatic qualifier Xander Schauffele. 

Thomas told the Palm Beach Post: "The number one regret he should have is we should have played better.

"We all told him that, 'Zach, it's easy to look back after a week where they just played monumentally better and we did not play well.

"It's easy to say you should have changed things.' We just should have played better for him."

Fowler said: "All it comes down to is we didn't play as well as the Euros did. Zach is loved by everyone. He was great. I wish I would have been healthier that week and wish I would have been playing better and feeling better about my game."

And Schauffele added: "We all just wish we would have done better so Zach wouldn't have to think this way.

"When we lose, the captain gets all the heat. When we win, the players get all the credit.

"We wouldn't be having this conversation if I played better or any of the guys you talked to today played better."

All three players had losing records at the 2023 Ryder Cup, with Thomas going 1-2-1, Schauffele 1-3 and Fowler 0-2. 

What did Zach Johnson say about his regrets?

Johnson said the 'common denominator' that he wished had dawned on him sooner was 'understanding how precious' time is. 

He said before the RSM Classic: "If I could have put more value into time management, I could have put my guys in a better position to play golf at a better rate early on. I'm not suggesting that would have changed the outcome, not at all.

"I can't determine that, that's sports, right? I'm just saying I think in my seat I didn't see what needed to be seen until after the fact.

"Now, it's been seen and it's been voiced by me and probably a couple others but specifically myself, so hopefully next time around there's a better template put into place so these guys can go play golf."

Schauffele, Thomas and Fowler's remarks come as it has emerged Johnson's counterpart, Luke Donald, reportedly has a matter of weeks to decide if he wants to lead Team Europe at Bethpage Black in two years' time. 

Johnson's successor is likely to be Stewart Cink or Tiger Woods.

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