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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 22:40 GMT 23:40 UK
US need Tiger to shine - Lehman
Tom Lehman
Lehman wants Woods to be firing on all cylinders
Tom Lehman says Tiger Woods must lead by example in this year's Ryder Cup if his US team are to reclaim the trophy.

Woods has a poor record in the biennial Europe v America competition, but US captain Lehman says his form is key to a line-up including four Cup rookies.

"Your stars have to be your stars," he said at a media briefing in New York.

"Your best players have to play their best. You have to give them the opportunity to play their best."

Woods, who has won five successive tournaments, has a Ryder Cup record of seven wins, 11 losses and two halves in four previous outings.

Phil likes to play with guys who he enjoys being around

Tom Lehman alludes to why the Woods-Mickelson pairing will not be revived

Lehman said Woods has embraced a leadership role on the US team, taking the four Ryder rookies - Vaughn Taylor, JJ Henry, Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich - out to dinner for a bonding session.

He said: "I think the best teams are always those where the best player has the best attitude.

"And when your best player is taking that kind of an interest in a leadership role, it makes the whole team better."

Lehman confirmed he favoured pairing Woods with Jim Furyk, who partnered him to two wins and a halved match in their three 2005 Presidents Cup matches.

Colllege hoops coaching great Mike Krzyzewski
Coach K has given Lehman some team-building tips

Woods played with his biggest PGA Tour rival Phil Mickelson at the 2004 Ryder Cup, and their failure to gel was a factor in the US team's heavy defeat.

Lehman said Mickelson would be a good partner for the likes of Chris DiMarco or David Toms.

"Phil likes to play with guys who he enjoys being around, obviously, but more than that, it's whose game he's going to trust."

Lehman said he drew some inspiration from a meeting he had on Monday with legendary Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski at his office in North Carolina.

"He had a million ideas about things that we could do as a team," he said.

"A lot of it has to do with creating the environment and the atmosphere to allow the players to play their best," he said.



Tom Lehman - US captain
05 Sep 06 |  Golf


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