Stewart Cink Is A New American Face For The Ryder Cup Back Room

The Ryder Cup task force that sought continuity has occasionally run the risk of being a closed shop with so many repeat faces in golf carts.

Stewart Cink is a new addition to the club. Zach Johnson appointed him his fifth and final assistant captain for this year’s matches at Marco Simone in Rome. Cink will be an assistant for the first time, having played in five Ryder Cup matches.

“Stewart is someone I can trust will give me honest and constructive feedback as we head into the final stages of preparing for the Ryder Cup,” Johnson said.

What that means going forward will depend on whom Jim Furyk selects for his assistant captains in the Presidents Cup next year at Royal Montreal.

Johnson was first appointed an assistant under Furyk in the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris. He was an assistant the next three times — two Presidents Cups, one Ryder Cup — before being appointed captain for the Rome matches.

Steve Stricker was an assistant for the first time in 2014 under Tom Watson — before the task force was formed — and he has been involved in all eight cups since then as an assistant and twice as captain (2017 Presidents Cup, 2021 Ryder Cup).

Davis Love III has been captain at three cups (Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2016, Presidents Cup in 2022) and was an assistant at five other cups dating to 2015. Furyk and Fred Couples have been part of six cups starting with the 2015 Presidents Cup.

As for who might be next in line as a Ryder Cup captain, perhaps Cink is being groomed. Most telling will be when — or if — he surfaces again. David Duval and Matt Kuchar were assistants under Furyk in the 2018 Ryder Cup, and neither has been chosen as an assistant since then.

Webb Simpson was an assistant at the Presidents Cup last year at Quail Hollow, where he is a member. Bubba Watson was a last-minute assistant at Hazeltine in 2016 Ryder Cup, mainly because he begged to be part of it.

The other one-time assistant since the formation of the task force was Phil Mickelson at the last Ryder Cup, though his role in recruiting players for Saudi-backed LIV Golf makes it hard to imagine Lefty taking part in another cup.