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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 17:02 GMT
Azinger revamps US Cup selection
Paul Azinger
Azinger will be able to choose four captain's picks in 2008
New US Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger admitted he was instrumental in the move to double the number of wildcards to four for Valhalla in 2008.

After three straight European wins, the last two of them by record nine-point margins, the 46-year-old wanted a revamp of the US qualification system.

Points will also now be based on money earned rather than top 10 finishes.

"We're tired of getting beaten and I want players who are red-hot if I can find them," said Azinger.

The only counting events for the top eight spots in the 2007 season will be the four majors, with one point for every US$1,000 earned by those who make the cut.

In 2008 there will be the same at all regular events and two points at each of the majors.

For the first time ever on United States soil we are going to be the underdogs

Paul Azinger

Previously, US players earned points for top-10 finishes in tournaments played in the two years running up to the Ryder Cup.

"I had a very active role in creating this. I'll get the blame if it does not work, but I would like the credit if it does," said Azinger, who could even delay naming his picks until the week before the event.

"I feel like there are two things that really motivate the players out here and two things that the players really feel the pressure to attain.

"That is trying to win tournaments that are the most prestigious, and the only other thing that makes me nervous is cash.

"I just thought that it was time for money to be the barometer."

Azinger's counterpart will be his old adversary Nick Faldo, who has the task of maintaining Europe's winning streak and extending the run to six wins out of seven matches.

"I think he will do a good job, but I think he is in a little bit of a tough spot. He has everything to lose," said Azinger.

"But it's not Paul v Nick. The bottom line is that it's up to the players. I don't know how I can get them to play better - I'm their captain, not their coach - but I hope getting the hottest players will make a difference.

"I want them to have an 'everything to gain, nothing to lose' attitude. For the first time ever on United States soil we are going to be the underdogs."

The 37th Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at Valhalla, Kentucky, from 16-21 September 2008.

SEE ALSO
Ryder Cup 2006 review
27 Sep 06 |  Golf


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