Youngest Curtis Cup Team Ever

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U.S. captain Martha Wilkinson Kirouac expects to preside over one of the youngest Curtis Cup teams ever -- something that might have made her nervous a year ago.
 
But having watched some of America's teens compete, her confidence is high.
 
''They're not lacking,'' Kirouac said. ''You can't hold age against them.''
 
Among the candidates to make the U.S. team, which likely will be announced this weekend, are Michelle Wie (14), Paula Creamer (17), Jane Park (17) and Arizona sophomore Erica Blasberg (19).
 
Kirouac's job could get even more interesting if Carol Semple Thompson, 55, gets picked for her 13th Curtis Cup.
 
It's one thing to have a teammate young enough to be your daughter.
 
But young enough to be your granddaughter?
 
Captain's style: Based on the last two guys Hal Sutton played for in the Ryder Cup, captains aren't always the way they were as players.
 
Curtis Strange, a two-time U.S. Open winner, was renowned for his fierce focus during the biggest events, a guy that utterly despised making anything worse than par.
 
Sutton expected that personality at The Belfry in 2002, but found a captain who was more relaxed and in tune with the players. Part of that was because Strange and European captain Sam Torrance tried to restore civility and perspective to the matches.
 
''Curtis was not as intense of a captain as he was a player,'' Sutton said. ''That's not a knock against Curtis. I thought Curtis did a great job from a player's perspective, but he was a little different than he was as a player.''
 
Then there's Ben Crenshaw, known as ''Gentle Ben.''
 
He was hardly that, according to Sutton.
 
''I would call him 'seriously calculated' in some ways,'' Sutton said.
 
Sutton was playing well in the '99 matches at Brookline. He and Jeff Maggert had just finished winning an alternate-shot match on the second day when Crenshaw said he needed them to play again in the afternoon.
 
Sutton was ready to go. Maggert said he was tired and needed to sit.
 
''Ben looks at me and he said, 'Well, who do you want to play with, because I'm going to have to put you out there,''' Sutton said.
 
Sutton suggested Payne Stewart. Crenshaw said Stewart was spraying the ball all over the place and sent him out with Justin Leonard.
 
''I thought I might have a little influence on Ben,'' Sutton said. ''I don't know why he asked me in the first place. He had no intentions of doing what I said. I kind of liked that about Ben.''
 
Divots: The Evian Masters has raised its purse to $2.5 million, second-highest on the LPGA Tour behind the U.S. Women's Open. ... Judy Rankin will receive the Linda Vollstedt Award next Monday in Phoenix for service and leadership in women's sports. ... The USGA might hand out exemptions to the U.S. Open during its annual meeting this weekend in Orlando, Fla. Among those under consideration are Tom Watson. ... Casey Martin is in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on a sponsor's exemption. ... The winner of the Ford Championship at Doral will get a Ford GT. Priced just under $140,000, it will be the most expensive car awarded on the PGA Tour. ... Retief Goosen has shot par or better in his last 25 rounds on the PGA Tour.
 

Stat of the week: Eight men played in the first four PGA Tour events of the year. Jonathan Kaye and Retief Goosen were the only ones to make every cut.
 
Final word: 'I must have picked up 10 yards, because last year Hank Kuehne hit it 70 yards by me. And today, he only hit it 60 by me.'' -- Scott Verplank
 
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