PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — While Zach Johnson is expressing some “regrets” and lamenting he didn’t put the United States “in the best position for success” as he reflects on the Americans’ performance at the Ryder Cup two months ago, his players are supporting their embattled captain.
Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele spoke to The Palm Beach Post last Friday about the disappointing week at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome. Europe dominated the U.S., winning 16.5-11.5.
The three players were attending the opening of Panther National, a course co-designed by Thomas and Jack Nicklaus.
“The No. 1 regret he should have is we should have played better,” Thomas said. “We all told him that, ‘Zach, it’s easy to look back after a week where they just played monumentally better and we did not play well. It’s easy to say you should have changed things.’
“We just should have played better for him.”
Fowler said he had no complaints about how Johnson handled the team.
“All it comes down to is we didn’t play as well as the Euros did,” Fowler said. “Zach is loved by everyone. He was great. I wish I would have been healthier that week and wish I would have been playing better and feeling better about my game.”
“We all just wish we would have done better so Zach wouldn’t have to think this way,” he said. “When we lose, the captain gets all the heat. When we win, the players get all the credit.
“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if I played better or any of the guys you talked to today played better.”
All three had losing records. Thomas, 1-2-1, and Schauffele, 1-3, each won their singles match. Fowler was 0-2.
Last week at the RSM Classic, Johnson spoke to the media about the Ryder Cup for the first time since returning from Rome.
“I’ve got a lot of 20/20 hindsight things that I certainly think about,” he said. “Arguably, some regrets.”
Zach Johnson points to time management at Ryder Cup
Specifically, Johnson cited time management.
“The common denominator that I go back to that I wish I could have changed, or not changed, I wish it would have dawned on me earlier is just the pure commodity of time and understanding that it’s precious,” Johnson said.
This, he said, was not about the team taking a trip three weeks prior of the Ryder Cup to play a practice around at Marco Simone. He called that “spectacular.”
Rather, it was more about managing their time…