Former U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk will captain the defending champion United States in the 2018 Ryder Cup against Europe at Le Golf National in Paris, the PGA of America said on Wednesday.

Jim Furyk

Furyk, nine times a player in the biennial competition, served as a vice-captain under Davis Love III at Hazeltine last October for the U.S. team that won golf‘s top team event for the first time since 2008.

The 46-year-old American was called a “natural leader and great communicator” by PGA of America President Paul Levy during a during a press conference to announce the decision.

Furyk, a 17-times winner on the PGA Tour who last August recorded the lowest ever PGA Tour round when he shot a 12-under-par 58, was widely considered the frontrunner for the job.

According to multiple reports the selection committee, which included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Love, whittled down their list for captain to either Furyk or Fred Couples.

Furyk, who is ranked 34th in the world and missed a large chunk of last season after wrist surgery, was part of the Ryder Cup task force created after the U.S. team he played on suffered a humbling defeat at Gleneagles in 2014.

Among the changes that came from that task force, whose aim was to help improve American fortunes in an event they dominated until the mid 1980s, came a plan to groom future captains that would ascend from vice captaincy roles.

Love will serve as a vice-captain on the U.S. team at the 2018 event that will run from Sept. 28-30.
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn was named as Europe’s captain for 2018 last month.