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How great Ryder Cup players fared as captains

How great Ryder Cup players fared as captains
© Reuters
Ahead of the start of the 43rd Ryder Cup being held at Whistling Straits, which former Ryder Cup players have fared the best when being selected as captain?

If you have fared well as a player in the Ryder Cup, the general consensus is that you will eventually be in the running to become a captain in the future. There is no scientific thinking behind that or obsessing over data. That is just the way it is. However, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington - the two skippers for USA and Europe for the upcoming edition of this competition - were far from impressive during their stints on a 12-man team, the pair losing 20 of the 36 matches between them. It is an eye-opening statistic ahead of a match-up which demands excellence, but that is not to say that they will not go down in folklore for the work that they do behind the scenes at Whistling Straits.

Research from Betway shows contrasting transitions have been made when players receive the honour of leading their respective team. Despite Europe heading into this week as the defending champions, it is difficult to find anything that will play into their favour aside from possessing the world's best player in Jon Rahm, and history is also on the USA's side when taking a look at the record of their most successful former players who became team leaders. Four of their most successful players - Lanny Wadkins, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Kite - have five Ryder Cup defeats between them as captain. When taking into consideration that USA have only lost 14 matches in total, that is a huge percentage.

Betway also highlights how Europe have a proven track record when it comes to their biggest points winners impressing as captain. Nick Faldo's stint in 2008 was somewhat of a disaster but the former players sitting in second to fifth of the points list - Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal - have all delivered Ryder Cups as captain. Their respective win percentages were all above 54%, far higher than Harrington's return of 43%, but the Irishman will argue that records and streaks are there to be broken, and his familiarity with many of the players can only help him when attempting to build unity among the group.

Coincidentally, Harrington's win percentage is only fractionally smaller than Thomas Bjorn, who guided Europe to success in Paris three years ago. It highlights that the decision-makers do not necessarily look at win-loss records when making the final call on captains. The same is evident when assessing the appointment of Stricker, who only delivered 3.5 points across three Ryder Cups. Even in the absence of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, Stricker has been blessed with one of the most fearsome American contingents in history, and he looks well set for some sort of redemption.

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