How the US Team is Shaping Up

RSS

The 34th Ryder Cup will be contested Sept. 27-29, a year after they were originally scheduled. The 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States postponed the Matches at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. With the delay, a little rust has formed on some of the participants. Here's a brief look at how United States team members have fared in 2002, and in the Ryder Cup.
 

TIGER WOODS
 
Woods has five worldwide wins this year, including a pair of major triumphs. He has played particularly well since his Grand Slam hopes were dashed at the British Open. He has a win, a runner-up and a fourth-place finish over his last three starts.
 
If there is one concern Captain Curtis Strange may have its Tigers Ryder Cup record. In two previous appearances, Woods is 3-6-1. Hes 1-1 in singles play, 1-2-1 in foursomes and 1-3 in four-balls.
 

PHIL MICKELSON
 
Mickelson is ranked second in the world, but first in fickleness. He has two PGA Tour victories this season and a pair of top-3s in the Masters and U.S. Open. However, you never know when an opening 64 will be followed with three straight rounds of 75 or higher, like at The Players Championship, or when Sunday will be 10 strokes lower than Saturday, like at the PGA Championship.
 
Mickelson withdrew from the Bell Canadian Open due to a minor back injury he said he incurred while lifting luggage; though, a spokesman said he would be fine by the Matches.
 
The lefthander is making his fourth Cup appearance. He has an impressive 6-3-2 record, including a flawless 3-0 record in singles.
 

DAVID DUVAL
 
Recorded his first sub-70 score since May in the final round of the WGC-NEC Invitational. He has seven missed cuts and a withdrawal in 19 starts this season. His best finish ' and his lone top-10 ' came in a tie for fourth at the Memorial.
 
Duval would have entered the 2001 Ryder Cup ranked third in the world, thanks to his British Open victory, but has now fallen outside the top 10.
 
He went 1-2-1 in his maiden Matches, in 1999.
 

MARK CALCAVECCHIA
 
Perhaps the streakiest player on tour. He has five top-10 finishes and eight missed cuts in 23 events.
 
Calcavecchia has health issues from head to foot. His back causes the most concern; hes been known to roll around in the middle of the fairway during a round to stretch the area.
 
The 42-year-old is playing in his fourth Ryder Cup, but his first since a dubious appearance in 1991. Calcavecchia crumbled under the pressure that Sunday, finishing triple-bogey, bogey, triple-bogey, bogey to blow a 4-up lead with four holes to play in halving his singles match with Colin Montgomerie.
 
His overall record is 5-5-1. Hes 4-0 in foursomes, but 0-4 in four-balls.
 

DAVID TOMS
 
Coming off a three-win season a year ago, Toms has yet to win this year. The 2001 PGA Champion missed the cut in his title defense, and didnt finish inside the top 35 in any major.
 
The Ryder Cup rookie is consistent, however, with 20 cuts made in 22 starts, including eight top-10s.
 

DAVIS LOVE III
 
Despite a myriad of top-10 finishes, Love has only one victory since April of 1998. Hes been playing better as the season has progressed, though. Love missed five cuts in his first 10 starts, but hasnt since missed a weekend. He finished runner-up in Hartford and at the Western.
 
Love is 6-8-3 in four prior Matches. Hes 3-1 in singles.
SCOTT HOCH
 
Hoch won twice as a 46-year-old in 2001, but like many on both teams has yet to find the same form in 02. He skipped the entire month of May due to problems from his LASIK surgery.
 
Surprisingly, his best performances have come in a tie for fifth at the ridiculously long U.S. Open and in a tie for eighth at the British Open, which he has only played five times in his career.
 
This is Hochs second Ryder Cup. He went 2-0-1 in 1997.
 

JIM FURYK
 
Furyk won the Memorial and has eight top-10 finishes; however, he has also missed six cuts ' as many as the last three years combined.
 
He's played well of late, tying for 10th at the Buick Open; finishing ninth at the PGA Championship; and tying for sixth in the NEC.
 
He is 2-4 in two prior Cup appearances. Both of his victories came in singles play.
 

HAL SUTTON
 
Captain Strange professes not to be worried about the 44-year-old, but his recent record seems cause for concern.
 
Sutton has missed 14 cuts in 23 starts this season. His best finish is a tie for 12th at the Colonial.
 
He was diagnosed last August with sleep apnea, a medial condition in which breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. Sutton is afforded rest by sleeping hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.
 
Suttons 1999 Ryder Cup appearance was his first in 12 years. He went 3-1-1 and provided emotional leadership. His overall record in three Matches is 6-4-4.
 

STEWART CINK
 
Cink has had a disappointing season, with three top-10s compared to seven missed cuts. Hes put together back-to-back rounds in the 60s only four times this year.
 
The Ryder Cup rookie hasnt won on tour since the 2000 MCI Classic.
 

SCOTT VERPLANK
 
After being named a captains selection in 2001, Verplank went out and won the Bell Canadian Open. He hasnt won this year, but has played steadily, missing only three cuts and earning four top-10s in 21 starts.
 
Verplank is one of three U.S. Ryder Cup rookies.
 

PAUL AZINGER
 
Azinger was more than a sentimental choice a year ago. He missed only one cut the entire season and ended 33rd on the PGA Tour money list.
 
This year, he has sprayed in an occasional top-10 and missed cut to go along with several mediocre results.
 
He last played in a Ryder Cup in 1993, the year he won the PGA Championship. He has a 5-6-2 record in three appearances.
 
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches