Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

Tiger vs. Sergio?

Ryder Cup 2023: Paul Azinger floats a potentially electric captains matchup at Bethpage Black in 2025

October 01, 2023

Sam Greenwood

You can always tell if an event is special by people wanting to talk about the next one as soon as this year's finishes. It's like golfers discussing where to take their next buddies trip while they're still on their annual sojourn. The Ryder Cup certainly falls into that category, the main difference being that golf fans, unfortunately, have to wait two years for it to return after Europe's latest victory.

But it's never too early to talk about it—and Paul Azinger certainly gave golf fans something to talk about on Sunday.

Before signing off on NBC for the week, the former Ryder Cupper who captained the U.S. to victory in 2008 floated a potential electric captains matchup for 2025 at Bethpage Black: Tiger Woods vs. Sergio Garcia. As Azinger's play-by-play partner, Dan Hicks, said, "Whoa." Here was their on-air exhange:

HICKS: And now the speculation in earnest begins who are going to be the next two captains. I know as far as the United States is concerned, there’s a guy named Eldrick available.

AZINGER: Yeah, I think he might be the next captain. Bethpage Black would be a perfect matchup for he and Sergio Garcia actually. Who you never know, two years from now, where we’re going to be.

HICKS: Whoa. You might have just started something there, Zing.

AZINGER: That would be an all-timer.

Indeed, it would. Not that a Ryder Cup—especially one at raucous Bethpage Black—needs any extra juice.

Let's just say, Woods and Garcia haven't always had the friendliest of relationships, including being involved in a U.S. Open battle at Bethpage in 2002. And that certainly hasn't gotten any better the past couple years with Garcia leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

Which, of course, brings us to the fact that this scenario seems pretty unlikely right now. After all, Europe didn't have any LIV players on this year's roster (the U.S. had one in Brooks Koepka), and Luke Donald was only made captain because Henrik Stenson was stripped of the title after going to LIV last year. Garcia reportedly made a last-ditch attempt to be part of the team but was denied.

However, with the PGA Tour in the process of partnering with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which is LIV's primary financial backer, who knows as Azinger said. Either way, it's a ways off from happening. But it's still fun to think—and talk—about. Thanks, Zinger.