-- Perhaps the biggest negative about the much-ridiculed -- and yet ultimately successful -- U.S. Ryder Cup Task Force is that it has served to virtually erase any bit of drama or mystery associated with the naming of the new captain.
Jim Furyk could be seen as the next U.S. captain from as far away as Chaska, Minnesota, where the Americans thumped Europe at Hazeltine National a few months ago, just their third victory in 11 matches.
Furyk, who is fully aware of the pain and suffering the Americans have endured in this competition, was named to the 2018 post on Wednesday at a news conference at PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Prior to serving as an assistant to Davis Love III in Minnesota, Furyk served under Jay Haas during the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea. Don't be surprised if Steve Stricker asks Furyk to be an assistant captain this fall for the Presidents Cup at Liberty National.
See how this works?
For all the snickering that surrounded the formation of a task force two years ago, it has served an important purpose as far as the U.S. Ryder Cup plight is concerned.
"We had a goal for the next five to 10 Ryder Cups,'' Furyk said in the aftermath of the U.S. victory. "I've said all along that if we won [in 2016] that's great, but let's not raise the flag and say, 'This is the greatest thing ever.' And if we lose let's not say, "Oh, s---, this doesn't work. It's a long-term plan.''
The plan was for continuity. For cohesion. For consistency. Gone are the days of one-and-done captains who had no prior or follow-up role. Now there is a group of friendly faces that are always to be involved, led by two of the game's greatest players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
And all of that leads to the lack of suspense over Ryder Cup captaincies. Aside from a few variables that are bound to emerge from time to time, you can pretty much pencil in the next several U.S. captains.
Furyk was all but certain to be named for 2018 in Paris, based on the blueprint that was set up and his desire to take the job. He made that clear last month, saying he'd be willing to serve whenever asked, and given the cast assembled at Hazeltine, Furyk was the logical choice.
He was a member of the original Task Force, which was charged with naming Davis Love III as captain for 2016. Furyk was also responsible for setting up a points structure and a system by which there would be input from players as well as familiarity from one Cup to the next.
It is often referenced, but the Task Force -- which was made up of several current and former captains and players, including Furyk -- was disbanded after Love was announced as captain in early 2015. The Task Force was replaced by a Ryder Cup committee that includes three PGA of America executives along with Woods, Mickelson and Love, who will now be replaced on the committee by Furyk.
So look at who played a big role behind the scenes in Minnesota and prior: Love, assistants Steve Stricker and Furyk, along with Mickelson and Woods.
Love is not going to be the captain again after two stints; Stricker is the Presidents Cup captain this year and a strong bet to be Ryder Cup captain in 2020, when the matches are played in his home state of Wisconsin; Mickelson and Woods undoubtedly still want to play on the team and are locks to be future captains. If they don't play in 2018, they will assist.
So that left Furyk ... with one little wrinkle.
Fred Couples remains enormously popular with many players, and he had a successful, three-time run as Presidents Cup captain. Many believe he should have gotten the Ryder Cup job at some point, but that was seemingly impossible before -- nobody was a Ryder Cup captain if they had been a Presidents Cup captain first.
That mindset has changed with the task force/committee, and Couples might have gotten the job two years ago. He wasn't part of the group in Minnesota, but on some level, he was considered for 2018 -- if for no other reason than to be in the mix should Furyk qualify for the team as a player. In 1963, Arnold Palmer was the last playing captain for Team USA.
Although he will be 48 at the 2018 Ryder Cup, Furyk is coming off an injury-shortened year in which he finished second at the U.S. Open and shot the lowest score ever in a PGA Tour event, a 58 at the Travelers Championship. He is the only player in history to break 60 twice.
If Furyk were to play well enough to make the team, Couples could stand in as captain -- which is why it wouldn't be a surprise to see Couples as an assistant this fall at Liberty National.
Don't focus too much on Furyk's Ryder Cup record of 10-20-4 -- tied with Mickelson for the most defeats in U.S. history. Furyk played on nine teams, but he's also 20-10-3 in seven Presidents Cup appearances. He has 17 PGA Tour victories, including the 2003 U.S. Open title. And he has been an assistant on the past two U.S. Cup teams, both victories.
Furyk's appointment Wednesday is all about the plan that was put in place two years ago. It might not result in a victory in France, but it undoubtedly will not be a detriment, either.
"I'm very proud to represent my country, and when I look back on my career and things I've done, making nine teams means an awful lot,'' he said. "You have to be consistent and to be able to qualify by right for eight [of] them -- to be in the mix that often, I'm proud of that. I don't think you ever need motivation to play in the Ryder Cup. It is my favorite event.''