Ian Poulter and Tiger Woods both keen to captain at the 2018 Ryder Cup, with Thomas Bjorn and Steve Stricker also in contention
Team USA finally stopped the Ryder Cup rout by claiming a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine and there’s now plenty of speculation over which men will captain the American and European side in Paris two years down the line.
Ian Poulter’s playing career isn’t yet over although perhaps the Englishman is destined to become a captain of Europe at a future Ryder Cup and it’s probable that he’ll throw his hat into the ring when it comes to 2018.
It’s possible that Poulter’s time might come in 2020 or 2022 instead, with Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood also likely to be interested in a coveted role which has previously been held by the likes of Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo.
Ryder Cup European captain odds
Thomas Bjorn 6/4
Padraig Harrington 3/1
Ian Poulter 9/2
Lee Westwood 8/1
We expect that Bjorn and Harrington will tussle it out for the role of European captain. They were both vice captains under Clarke at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a little more age and experience on their side than Poulter.
Nevertheless, Andrew Coltart backs Poulter as someone who could motivate the troops and the latter really is synonymous with European success in this event.
“Obviously the chairman of the European Tour’s players committee Thomas Bjorn is a favourite,” said Coltart. “He’s been vice captain on several occasions. He’s well respected throughout the tour and there’s a fair chance he will be.
“There’s one other name that goes hand-in-hand with Ryder Cup in the modern era [and he] is Ian Poulter. A talisman of European golf for several years. He loves the heat, the fire, the passion of the Ryder Cup and even if he is still playing, I still see him as a viable option for captaincy.”
Westwood might still expect to be featuring in two years’ time, even if he struggled for form over the three days in Hazeltine.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has admitted that he’d love to become a captain of Team USA and the former world number one might yet be the man to lead his country at the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Woods was selected as a vice captain and perhaps he’s in the running for the role, with the likes of Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk other potential candidates, although Davis Love III might not be quickly disregarded either.
Love should really have been a winning captain in Medinah and got the winning blend right in 2016, so Team USA might be prepared to leave the situation the same considering the group of players won’t change a great deal.
Woods will hope to have plenty of playing time left in his career yet, although he admits that the 2016 Ryder Cup gave him a fascinating insight in to what the role of captain entails.
“Seeing what our captain went through, that’s hard,” Woods said. “Yeah, I would love to do it. I would be honoured to do it in the future, if asked.
“To be on the vice-captaincy side of it has meant so much to me, to get to know these guys on a different level and to know how hard a job it is to do this,” Woods said. “It’s very complicated. There’s a lot of things that I didn’t realise that went on. It was very eye-opening. But from the player standpoint of it, I like playing. I love being out there, in the fight with these guys.”