x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jason Dufner says US should copy the silver lining of Europe's playbook

Pro says US players should have a say in choosing the Ryder Cup captain in the manner European players do, explains Steve Elling.

Jason Dufner says he would like to see the US players have a say in the selection of their Ryder Cup captain as the Europeans do.
Jason Dufner says he would like to see the US players have a say in the selection of their Ryder Cup captain as the Europeans do.

ABU DHABI // Maybe imitation would be the best form of flattery for the Ryder Cup, too.

After seeing the Americans lose the Ryder Cup in seven of the past nine meetings, one member of the 2012 US team said he sees value in the captaincy selection method used by the more successful European team.

Wednesday night, a panel of players on the European Tour's tournament committee discussed five candidates before selecting Paul McGinley, who was roundly supported by many of the star players who figure to make his 2014 team.

The US captain is selected in secrecy by the brass at the PGA of America, a group that does not always have much familiarity with the players, their preferences, performances or the relative strengths and weaknesses of the captaincy candidates.

How would they? They are not involved in the PGA Tour.

"We are playing in the event, I think we're familiar with a lot of the guys who could be up for nomination for being captains," said American Jason Dufner, the world No 11, who is playing this week in Abu Dhabi. "This year with Europe, they had a lot of influence from the players, and the players spoke and pushed for Paul to be captain."

Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Justin Rose, to name a trio of players in the world top five, campaigned for McGinley on their Twitter accounts.

No knock on Tom Watson, who was picked to be the American captain next year, but players were not part of the process and the 63 year olds selection a complete surprise.

Ted Bishop, the general manager of a club in Indiana who is serving a two-year stint as the president of the PGA of America, read a book about Watson and decided to pursue him as a potential captain, seemingly in complete secrecy.

An open or democratic process, it is not.

"If you ask most guys, they would want to be more involved in that process a bit more, I think," Dufner said.

Does it make a difference? It might. Dufner noted that the Europeans have, in effect, installed their personal pick as the 2014 boss. They lobbied for him, politicked publicly, are therefore more invested in his success.

Thus, they might be inspired to give a better effort.

Regardless, camaraderie will almost surely blossom.

"I think that speaks volumes for how the team is going to come together for them," Dufner said.

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