Paul Azinger, the United States Ryder Cup captain, who will announce his wild card selections yesterday for match at Valhalla, Kentucky later this month, yearned for the type of dilemma faced on Sunday night by his European counterpart Nick Faldo. Azinger has broken with tradition in his leading role for this 37th running of the popular transatlantic battle by asking for and being granted four captain's picks to add to the eight who have qualified automatically.
He probably wishes that he had left his country's players to fight it out for the normal allocation of 10 places. "You look at all the guys Nick had to choose... I don't have that," said Azinger. "It's not like I have a bunch of veterans with monster records at the Ryder Cup." Azinger, who is seeking to end a run of three successive American defeats in the world's biggest matchplay event, has been denied the services of the world No 1 Tiger Woods, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Woods' record in this team format is not that impressive, however, so Azinger must decide who to add to his eight qualifiers - Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis and Boo Weekley. The cluster of names considered to be in the frame will not exactly have the Europeans quaking in their boots. They are Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, Sean O'Hair, Zach Johnson, JB Holmes, Chad Campbell, DJ Trahan, Woody Austin, Rocco Mediate, Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Quinney and Scott Verplank.
All but Johnson played in the in the last of the qualifying events - the Deutche Bank Championship, which concluded last night. @Email:email@example.com