Golf Digest editors picks

My Five: Best Ryder Cup Captains

January 19, 2011
Though the newly-selected Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III are well suited to lead their teams, I still hold to the view that Ryder Cup captain is an overrated position in terms of the final outcome. But certain leaders have a bearing and a way with words and people that both relaxes and inspires players. It's projected most importantly not in press conferences or on camera, but in the team room or well chosen one-on-one moments. Here are my top five:
Tony Jacklin

2. Tony Jacklin (1983, 1985, 1987)

The Englishman stands alone as the most transformative captain ever. When he took over, the U.S. had lost only three times in 24 competitions, and there had been talk of canceling the matches. But with the inclusion of Europe, Jacklin had a new wave of young stars including Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Nick Faldo, but even more importantly, insisted that the Europeans do everything first class and begin carrying themselves like winners. A narrow loss in 1983 ignited a fire, and wins in 1985 and especially 1987 on American soil began an era of European superiority that made the event the biggest spectacle in the game.
David Cannon/Getty Images
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