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July 31, 2023

Stewart Cink named vice captain for U.S. Ryder Cup team

By By Gregg Dewalt, Alabama Golf News Editor
Stewart Cink named Ryder Cup vice captain

50-year-old surpised by invitation

Alabama native Stewart Cink has won eight times on the PGA Tour, including the 2009 Open Championship. His resume includes playing on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams and four U.S. Presidents Cup teams.

On Monday, he added another first in his career – Ryder Cup vice captain for the 2023 U.S. team.

U.S. captain Zach Johnson announced he was adding Cink as vice captain to the team. The invitation came during a conversation at the Open Championship a little over a week ago. When asked, it didn’t take Cink, who grew up in Florence, long to say yes.

Although his resume has long been worthy of a spot in some capacity, the 50-year-old Cink wondered if the opportunity had passed him by. He said the offer came as somewhat of a surprise.

He thought his time had come and gone

“To be honest, I was surprised because I kind of thought that my window had passed,” Cink said Sunday ahead of the announcement. “After playing on five teams, I watched Davis (Love) be the captain twice. Jim (Furyk) was a captain and those guys are my buddies, and we played on teams together and we partnered up in matches together.

“I just kind of felt like if I hadn’t been selected to be an assistant in one of those that it probably wasn’t going to happen,” he added. “So yes, I was surprised when Zach asked me. I’m honored that he’s chosen me to join those guys. It’s a great group of experienced leaders and I’m honored to be in the group.”

Johnson is one of Cink’s closest friends on the PGA Tour and said he was honored to be selected. However, he emphasized he did not lobby for the position.

“Zach’s probably my best friend on the Tour,” Cink said. “We don’t see each other that often except for when we’re playing the tournaments. But just the fact that he would honor me with the invitation to be his vice captain is tremendous. It’s not the kind of thing you would campaign for at all. You let your record and relationship speak for themselves.”

Although he’s not competing, Cink said he is happy to be back on the team. He said he’s not sure what role Johnson will have for him, but added it doesn’t matter.

‘I’ll do whatever they want me to do’

“Some of my favorite, most fond memories on the golf course came from Ryder Cups,” he said. “So, I look forward to being in that arena again and doing whatever I can do. I mean, I’ll be the janitor if they want me to. I’ll do whatever they want me to do, whatever’s needed to help the team be in the best place to play their greatest golf.”

This year’s Ryder Cup matches will be played in Italy for the first time from Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

Cink said being a vice captain on the U.S. team somewhat validates his long career and his experience. He hopes to pass along some of his knowledge and experience to this team.

“The experience of playing on the team is so valuable that it’s hard to be able to translate that kind of experience without being in it,” he said.

“The guys who are going to be vice captains alongside me are quite experienced. They played a whole lot of Ryder Cup matches and have seen a whole lot of Ryder Cup matches played. They know the ins and outs. I do too. I remember playing ’em like it was yesterday.”

Now that Cink is 50, he is more of an elder statesman instead of just one of the guys. He said he is looking forward to establishing relationships with players he doesn’t know very well.

“They are more my kids’ age,” he said. “The age gap – it just makes it hard to really get to know people that are a lot younger than you. I’m looking forward to getting a relationship with those guys and learning about them and let them learn about me. That’s one of the great things about these team events. I’m just happy to be part of it.”

Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News

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Featured image of Stewart Cink courtesy of the PGA Tour

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