PGA Doesnt Make Lehmans Picks Any Easier

By Associated PressAugust 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- This wasn't much help.
Tom Lehman's choices for his two Ryder Cup captain's picks are no clearer now that the PGA Championship is over than they were when it started. If anything, his decision might be tougher.

This was the last chance to earn Ryder Cup points or impress Lehman, but instead of bringing out their best, players still scrambling to make the team did little to distinguish themselves.
'I don't know what he should do, really,' said Davis Love III, one of a half-dozen players still in the mix to fill out the team, which Lehman will announce Monday morning.
'He doesn't really have anybody from 10 down that's playing that well. He's got a bunch of guys playing good, but they don't seem to be (between) 10th and 20th on the list. So I don't know. He's in a tough position.'
The top 10 in the Ryder Cup point standings after the PGA automatically make the team, and Lehman gets two additional picks. Five players had clinched their spots even before they got to Medinah Country Club, and British Open runner-up Chris DiMarco was all but a lock.
Brett Wetterich was 10th when he arrived at Medinah this week. He took quadruple bogeys in the first round, a 9 the second day and badly missed the cut, along with Vaughn Taylor, who was seventh in the standings, and Zach Johnson, who was ninth. J.J. Henry, who was eighth in the standings, tied for 41st at even par.
All will make the team anyway because no one else capitalized.
'The top 10 stayed the same? Well then, we're going to have some rookies on the team,' Tiger Woods said. 'I don't know what Tom is going to do with his picks.'
Love, Stewart Cink, Steve Stricker, Lucas Glover, Tim Herron and Scott Verplank are considered the likeliest candidates to be Lehman's picks.
With so many inexperienced players locked in, Lehman could go for veterans with either Love, Cink or Verplank -- or even Herron, who has four career victories, including this year's Colonial.
Or, if he's looking for raw talent, he could opt for Glover, who has three top-five finishes this season and three more in the top 10. Lehman also could opt for specific skills, taking someone like assistant captain Corey Pavin, known his tenacity and short game.
Love has played on every Ryder Cup team since 1993, the longest active streak by an American, but he said that should have no bearing on Lehman's decision.
'You pick somebody you think can help the team,' Love said. 'It doesn't matter how many times they've played or how many times they haven't played. Lucas Glover in match play might be a great partner. Corey Pavin might be a great partner.
'You've got to pick someone who's going to play well and putt well,' Love added. 'I'd pick a putter right now.'
Who Lehman will pick is anyone's guess, because he wasn't talking Sunday. Instead he spent the day in a golf cart, making last-minute evaluations of the guys who are still potential picks.
Cink faded after an opening-round 68, but he rallied with a 3-under 69 Sunday. It didn't hurt that he was paired with Pavin, either. Herron was in contention with a share of the second-round lead, but he shot even-par 72 on Saturday and 1-over 73 Sunday.
'It's disappointing,' Herron said. 'I had a lot going on this year -- a lot of positive things. I've had twins. I had a win this year. I'm not going to hang my head. But I just wasn't real organized. I haven't had too many top 10s this year.'
Glover was the first-round co-leader after a 6-under 66 Thursday, but spent the next three days trying to find par.
'It's been a dream and a goal of mine,' Glover said. 'It's really difficult. I hit two bad shots all day Thursday. I don't think I've hit two good shots since. I can't say if that's pressure or not.'
Love might have been the biggest disappointment of all. After beginning the year fourth in the rankings, the 1997 PGA champion had dropped to 15th and needed to finish eighth or better for an automatic spot.
Love was in position after opening with 68-69 that left him one stroke off the lead, but he limped home with a 73 Saturday, and had an even more dismal 76 Sunday.
'I just didn't score. I felt like I was playing well and I just didn't score,' Love said. 'This is the one time when I tried hard. Probably a little too hard.'
The only one who really impressed was Stricker, who has revived his career this year after finishing out of the top 150 the last three seasons and losing his fully exempt status. Stricker was tied for 27th in the rankings and needed to finish third or better to get on the team.
He came close, finishing in a tie for seventh after a 69. That moved him up to 21st in the Ryder Cup standings.
'I wish I'd gotten a little closer,' Stricker said. 'At least I gave myself a shot at it.'
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