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How U.S. Ryder Cup captains have performed throughout history

Jim Furyk will be captaining his first Ryder Cup team this year in Paris, but he’s not without experience.

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Furyk is second only to Phil Mickelson with eight appearances for the U.S. team as a player, and was on the sidelines in 2016 as a vice captain for Davis Love III as the U.S. won for the first time in four attempts. 

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So, what precedent has been set for Furyk in his rookie captain debut? Below, we list the records for every U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but first, a few takeaways from the numbers:

  • 2016 was Love’s second time as captain, tying him with Jack Burke Jr., Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson for the fourth-most captain appearances. They’re all a far cry from Walter Hagen, who captained the U.S. team for six consecutive tournaments from 1927-1937.


Walter Hagen (middle, holding trophy) with the 1939 U.S. Ryder Cup team

  • Hagen won four of those, also putting him in first place for wins as a captain across both teams. In second place is Ben Hogan, who won three.
  • Of all captains with at least three appearances, none have a better record than Ben Hogan. Hogan was the captain for the 1947, 1949, and 1967 teams, and saw the U.S. team win each one. Arnold Palmer, who won in his only two appearances in 1963 and 1975), is the only other captain on either side to be undefeated in multiple appearances.
  • Furyk will be 48 years, 4 months, 10 days old when the Ryder Cup starts on Sept. 21. The youngest U.S. captain ever was Charles Whitcombe, who was 35 years, 9 months, 5 days old in 1931. The oldest came just one Ryder Cup later, in 1933, with J.H. Taylor, who was 62 years, 3 months, 7 days old.
  • Since the advent of the formal vice captain in 1999, two former vice captains have gone on to captain the U.S. team. Corey Pavin was vice captain to Tom Lehman in 2006 (Europe won), and captained in 2010 (Europe won). Davis Love III was vice captain to Pavin in 2010 (Europe won), and captained in 2012 (Europe won) and 2016 (U.S. won). Furyk could be the first former vice captain to win his captaining debut.

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Here are the full records:
 

Captain Years Appearances Won Lost Halved
Walter Hagen 1927-37 6 4 2 0
Ben Hogan 1947-49, 67 3 3 0 0
Sam Snead 1951, 59, 69 3 2 0 1
Jack Burke Jr. 1957, 73 2 1 1 0
Davis Love III 2012, 2016 2 1 1 0
Jack Nicklaus 1983, 87 2 1 1 0
Arnold Palmer 1963, 75 2 2 0 0
Tom Watson 1993, 2014 2 1 1 0
Paul Azinger 2008 1 1 0 0
Jerry Barber 1961 1 1 0 0
Billy Casper 1979 1 1 0 0
Ben Crenshaw 1999 1 1 0 0
Dow Finsterwald 1977 1 1 0 0
Raymond Floyd 1989 1 0 0 1
Chick Harbert 1955 1 1 0 0
Jay Hebert 1971 1 1 0 0
Tom Kite 1997 1 0 1 0
Tom Lehman 2006 1 0 1 0
Lloyd Mangrum 1953 1 1 0 0
Dave Marr 1981 1 1 0 0
Byron Nelson 1965 1 1 0 0
Corey Pavin 2010 1 0 1 0
Dave Stockton 1991 1 1 0 0
Curtis Strange 2002 1 0 1 0
Hal Sutton 2004 1 1 1 0
Lee Trevino 1985 1 0 1 0
Lanny Wadkins 1995 1 0 1 0