US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said on Wednesday he learned a lot in his 2018 debut as vice captain but added that tinkering with the gameplan is no guarantee his team will leave Rome next year celebrating a rare triumph in Europe.
Europe’s home dominance improved to six consecutive Ryder Cup victories following with their 2018 win outside Paris where twice major champion Johnson served as one of Jim Furyk’s vice captains.
The United States have not won a Ryder Cup on foreign soil since 1993 but from Johnson’s perspective there is not much more they could have done at Le Golf National four yeas ago.
“Sometimes you just get beat, that’s the bottom line, right?” Johnson told reporters ahead of this week’s RSM Classic on St. Simons Island, Georgia. “That (2018) team, the European team was playing great at the time. You had a FedExCup champion (Justin Rose) on that team and you had a lot of really high quality ball-strikers on a course that demanded really good ball-striking.”
Johnson also served as a vice captain for last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits where a high-powered US team led by a new generation of golfers cruised to a 19-9 win that will likely mark the end for several of Europe’s stalwarts.
The 46-year-old Johnson feels the US team’s system for the biennial event is in a good place and making adjustments just to put his stamp on things is not the route he wants to go.
“The system for Team USA is really, really good right now,” said Johnson. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to win, that’s not what I’m alluding to. But it’s good and it can take on the personality year in and year out of that leader so you can stay on the same road and just have a different bus driver.”
The next Ryder Cup will be played from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.
If Johnson does have any fresh ideas up his sleeve, he was not about to reveal them this far out.
“Things I could get really specific about that I’m not going to tell you right now, and I’m going to learn more as I go,” said Johnson.