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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Verplank & Cink in US Ryder team
Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink
Verplank (left) and Cink will represent the USA in Dublin
Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink have been chosen by Tom Lehman as his wildcards for the US Ryder Cup team, but Davis Love has been overlooked.

Cink, who was also a wildcard in 2004, has shown consistent recent form and finished 12th in the points table.

Verplank, who was 20th in the table, was also given a wildcard in 2002.

Love needed to finish no lower than eighth in the USPGA to automatically qualify but was joint 34th and misses his first Ryder Cup since 1991.

Fifty-six players had the chance to force their way into the side going into the USPGA championship but all failed.

This means the USA will have four rookies - Vaughn Taylor, JJ Henry, Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich.

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Chad Campbell, David Toms and Chris DiMarco also qualified.

Love's omission means the American team will show five changes from two years ago, with Chris Riley, Kenny Perry, Fred Funk and Jay Haas the other players to miss out.

Tom Lehman
Stewart Cink has played steady golf his whole career and Scott is a tough competitor

Tom Lehman

Lehman admitted it had been hard to finalise his side.

"It's been a difficult decision for me to make and it's tough to call people you respect as players and people and say you're not picking them," he said.

"It's emotional for me. I've been on the side of the coin where I've not been picked.

"I believe the two make the team very complete. Stewart Cink has played steady golf his whole career - a strong guy, a tough competitor. And he's played well all summer.

"Scott is a tough, tough, tough competitor. He can really putt and chip and I think without question he belongs."

Verplank said: "I didn't sleep very well last night. I basically slept with my cell phone under the pillow.

"I am so pumped and can't wait. I love to play for the United States and I am really looking forward to playing for Tom."

Europe have won four of the last five matches against a US team that has been criticised at times for not gelling.

However, Lehman insists the same accusation cannot be levelled at his side.

If I ever hear somebody question Tiger Woods' desire to be a part of this team again, I'm going to go crazy

Tom Lehman

"Our team is unbelievably motivated to win," he said. "There's not one guy on the team who is going over there to finish second."

Lehman singled out world number one Woods and Masters champion Mickelson for their Ryder Cup commitment.

"If I ever hear somebody question Tiger Woods' desire to be a part of this team again, I'm going to go crazy," he said.

"Tiger Woods cannot wait to play in this Ryder Cup. He is looking forward to it every bit as much as looking forward to playing in the PGA Championship, the British Open, the Masters and the US Open.

"Tiger told me: 'We've got some young guys on the team. Don't worry about the young guys, I'll take care of them.' That tells you about the leadership of our team.

"Phil is the exact same way. He is completely tuned in and plugged into this team. He's having fun being a part of it."

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Meanwhile, European skipper Ian Woosnam felt Lehman's wildcard picks made perfect sense.

"Both have played Ryder Cup, World Cup and Presidents Cup golf for their country and therefore will bring a lot of international team experience to Ireland," said the Welshman.

"Tom's decision to go with experience provides the United States with balance, considering that there are four rookies in their team."

Lehman is planning to take his side, excluding Woods and Mickelson who have other commitments, on a scouting mission to the K Club in Kildare, Ireland at the end of the month.

The European team will be decided after the BMW International Open in Germany on 3 September.

The Ryder Cup takes place from 22-24 September.


United States Ryder Cup team:

TIGER WOODS
PHIL MICKELSON
JIM FURYK
CHAD CAMPBELL
DAVID TOMS
CHRIS DiMARCO
VAUGHN TAYLOR
JJ HENRY
ZACH JOHNSON
BRETT WETTERICH
STEWART CINK
SCOTT VERPLANK



SEE ALSO
K Club calling
21 Aug 06 |  Golf


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