Captain Paul Azinger has filled out his Ryder Cup team in preparation for the September 19-21 Tournament at Vahalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. This is an event I love to watch as it is a team tournament but individuals need to produce to help the team. It is America against the Europeans with Nick Faldo as their team Captain. It is playing for your team, country and hoping to play your best.
Many American players were waiting for Paul to announce his Captains choice players and the following got that telephone call. Chad Campbell it has been said was waiting around the Dallas Hospital as his wife was due to have a baby soon when he got the call. Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and J. B. Holmes each received that call. There will be six rookies on the 2008 Ryder Cup team and no Tiger Woods. I will miss Tiger in this event but will enjoy the tournament any way.
The eight players who qualified previously as their standings during the tournament play this year. These eight are Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis and Boo Weekley. These players have a big challenge before them as America has not won the Ryder Cup since 1999. It seems the European players are more experienced at playing this type of tournament which is best shot, best ball and match play. American players are more involved in stroke play during their tournaments as it seems they get more nervous or tense during these events. We hope Paul Azinger can keep them loose and ready to go forward.
There are a few of the American players that are unknown or at least to me, so it will be interesting to watch and see how they hold up under pressure. This type of tournament is pressure packed so it is important that the Team Captain keep them calm and in control. I had read in some magazine that maybe Tiger Woods would show up at the tournament to give them all incentive to play hard and win. I also read that Tiger and his wife are expecting their second child.
There are always questions as to why Paul did not pick such players as Rocco Mediate who gave Tiger such a game in the Open, or Woody Austin or some other winners this year. Paul just says he canít reply to that and only explain why he picked the ones that made it. That is why it is called Captains choice and the Captains have to feel good about who made the tournament. All I can say is let the Games Begin!