Zach Johnson has his opponent for the 2023 Ryder Cup. On Tuesday, Henrik Stenson was named captain of the European team for the matches that will take place in Rome late next year. Johnson was named captain of the U.S. a few weeks ago, and now a pair of major winners will square off at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in the 44th edition of the event.
This was not the slam dunk it seems like it should have been. Europe's selection dragged a bit because of all the rumors about the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League. Normally, it would have already named its captain, and while it's unclear whether Stenson was among those who were going to jump to the SGL, the entire saga seemingly delayed the announcement. (Players who jumped to the SGL would have ostensibly been banned from the Ryder Cup.)
Stenson, the first Swede to captain Europe, will be looking to extend Europe's winning streak on home soil, which dates back to 1995. He will likely be beloved as a captain. He's a great quote, doesn't suffer fools and has a sense of the history of golf.
"I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the European Ryder Cup Captain. It is a huge honor, and I was humbled to get the call confirming the news," Stenson said in a statement. "I would like to thank the selection panel for believing in me and will say to them, and every European golf fan, that I will do everything in my power and leave no stone unturned in the quest to get the Ryder Cup back in European hands.
"The Ryder Cup is golf, and sport, at its very best. I got goosebumps every time I pulled on a European shirt as a player and that will be magnified in the role of Captain. While it is great for me personally, it is also great for my country and all the players from Sweden who have played for Europe with such distinction since Joakim Haeggman became the first in 1993."
Stenson is one of the lions of the Euro team as a player. He's played in five Ryder Cups overall (2006, 2008, 2014, 2016, 2018) and won 11 total points for the blue and yellow, many of them alongside his pal Justin Rose. Speaking of Rose, will be fascinating to see who both Stenson and Johnson bring on as their assistant captains in the weeks and months to come.
Stenson is part of an era that's a bit between playing and moving on to being captains and assistant captains, and he'll undoubtedly have to make some difficult decisions in light of that.
The 2023 Ryder Cup is set for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 next year.