Does Europe Need A Task Force To Avoid Defeat In 2023?

The short answer is no. Here's seven reasons why it's not all bad for Team Europe...

Padraig Harrington close up picture at the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The short answer is no. Here's seven reasons why it's not all bad for Team Europe...

Does Europe need a task force to avoid defeat in Italy in 2023?

After the United States lost their sixth match in seven at Gleneagles they put together a Ryder Cup task force that included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Davis Love III, Ray Floyd, Tom Lehman and Steve Stricker.

Countless conference calls and group text messages followed and, two years later, the Americans won at Hazeltine before then coming unstuck in France.

So is this the way forward for Team Europe?

1 In a word, no.

No, no, no, no, no. This isn’t how things roll in Team Europe.

Coming into Whistling Straits Europe had won nine of the past 12 meetings so, even the most jingoistic American would have to suggest that not much is going wrong for a team that is constantly regarded as the underdogs.

2 We have had a task force of sorts for years, maybe decades.

The vice-captains are invested in the process and we’ve had players like Garcia, Westwood and Poulter who have been part of the fabric for so long.

Every two years we’re reminded of how key Garcia is in the team room, talking to every player individually and feeding them pointers - this is more beneficial than any conference call.

3 Home teams win.

Had Medinah not happened then the past eight Ryder Cups would have been won by home teams.

The most overriding factor of Le Golf National was how key course set-up was and it will be the same in Italy.

We’ll play to our strengths and you can bet your bottom Euro that being able to bomb it 300+ yards through the air isn’t going to do you an awful lot of good.

4 And with home advantage comes home fans.

At times it was as flat as a pancake for the Europeans this week which is understandable given the lack of support and contending with 40,000 partisan home fans.

Roll on the ole, ole, oles in Rome.

5 One thing is certain, this is a changing of the guard for Europe.

We’ll hear lots about how this was a Ryder Cup too far for Westwood, Poulter and Casey, which is easy to say after what’s gone on in Wisconsin.

Westwood will be in charge and he’ll likely have Poulter as part of his backroom team and, in their place, we might have a Hojgaard or two and maybe a Belgian or Scot or two.

Some clever money might go on Justin Rose playing his way back into things.

6 A golden age of Americans

What good can a task force do when the likes of Schauffele, Morikawa, Cantlay et al are racking up win after win on the PGA Tour?

It’s a boring old cliche but these things are cyclical and this is a golden period for American golf.

They had a rookie who has more majors than all bar one of our team.

7 Two years is a long time

This might seem like a desperate situation but things change and very quickly.

At the last Ryder Cup we were celebrating Francesco Molinari winning all five of his matches and now he wasn’t even close to this team.

Hazeltine felt similarly disappointing but, by the time Le Golf National had ticked around, we were good to go and posting a seven-point victory.

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.