Zinger Warms to His Awesome Task - COPIED
Azinger assumes the captaincy of a boat that is listing badly. The U.S. has lost six of the last seven Ryder Cups. And the U.S. players will not win unless they can play better golf in 2008 than the Europeans. If Vince Lombardi were coaching the last-place team in 1967 instead of the Green Bay Packers, he could not possibly have won the NFL Championship, regardless of how great a coach he was. Ergo Hal Sutton and Tom Lehman, the last two U.S. captains.
Now, with that bit of info out in the open, Azinger says he has some ideas. But one of them does not revolve around lighting a fire under the U.S. players. The idea that the Americans have not wanted the Cup as badly of the Europeans is pure, well, poppycock, he feels.
I think the greatest misconception is that the Europeans are more passionate about the Ryder Cup than we are, said Zinger. Clearly, they look like they have more camaraderie, giving each other headlocks and noogies, patting each other on the back and all that.
But the reality is, when their team wins the first session in the morning and then wins the first match in the afternoon, then they are going to look that way. I hope America and the press remembers what 1999 was like, that comeback ' if there ever were more passion and more excitement than what was shown in that instance, then youve got to show me where that came from. The American players are passionate, and they are hungry and starving to do well in this event.
But the reality is, theyve been behind a lot lately. And (that passion) just doesnt show.
And he says that, frankly, the Europeans had the better players the last two matches when they outscored the Americans by convincing 18 - 9 margins.
The European Ryder Cup team is fantastic, and they have been for a long time, said Azinger. And its time that we recognize that fact.
The PGA of America has set up a new selection process, hopefully to get one or two more hot players on the team. And Azinger has been given two additional selections, making it four wild-card picks selections instead of two. Outside of that, there isnt a whole lot the PGA can do. Its up to the Americans to get better. Zinger will merely take what hes given and try to hash out a win.
I think I have the opportunity that no other Ryder Cup captain has had, he said, and I really appreciate that.
PGA of America president Roger Warren conceded that at most there might have been one or two different players under the new selection process than there was in the last two Cups. For the losing trend to be reversed, the U.S. will have to rely, first and foremost, on Azingers ability to get four winning players ' plus, of course, an over-all improvement in the American players who are the eight automatic picks.
In 2008, of course, the Americans will be having to compete under a rather dubious schedule ' they will be coming off a seven-events-in-eight-weeks stretch that is compliments of the PGA TOURs new FedEx Cup. The TOUR Championship will be the week before the Ryder Cup. It remains to be seen just how much of a hindrance that will be.
Very few of the potential Ryder Cup members ever play that concentrated schedule. Will the Americans be a worn-out troupe, playing with lots of heart but little else? Could be.
I dont really know how the best players in the world are going to react, confessed Azinger. I dont know how they are going to respond to that type of a schedule. I dont know that, because they feel theyre already qualified, theyll take some time off.
Somehow, though, I feel like it is better for us that the American players are going to be playing in the FedEx Cup series leading into the Ryder Cup. It may end up being OK.
If it is any consolation, several of the Europeans will be in the same boat, since many of them are members of the U.S. tour. And, two years is a long time into the future ' maybe three or four Americans will come to the fore in that time, maybe the situation wont look nearly as bleak by then.
But be assured, says Azinger, the 12 men who will wear the United States colors will be ready to play.
I think that America as a whole, the PGA of America as a whole, and the players as a whole are tired of getting beat, he said simply. And I just think they will be very hungry - I really do.
Zinger let it go at that. No rash promises of victory. No flag-waving, no barn-burning, no evangelistic fervor. But you can bet your money on the Americans being ready. If Paul Azinger can get them to play the utmost of their capabilities, then he has done everything that a captain can do.
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Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.