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US Ryder Cup team - Azinger's army
Left: European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo (left) and US counterpart Paul Azinger. Top right: Phil Micklelson. Bottom right: Paul Azinger
The US Ryder Cup team has been finalised now that captain Paul Azinger has added his four wildcard picks - Steve Stricker, Chad Campbell, JB Holmes and Hunter Mahan - to the top eight players who qualified by right.

But that team, the 12 sets of shoulders upon which responsibility will weigh heavy, has been deprived of world number one Tiger Woods after he withdrew from action for the rest of the season with a knee injury following his US Open win in June.

Whether Woods, who has had a mixed Ryder Cup career, will be a loss to the team is the subject of much debate. Some say his absence will help unite the team. Others think losing the world's best player is clearly a disadvantage.

Whatever, world number two Phil Mickelson will be expected to lead from the front with automatic qualifiers Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis and Boo Weekley all expected to help shrug off their underdog status and rise to the challenge.

Captain Paul Azinger will be hailed as a magician if he can bond a side that in the last few years has been accused of lacking team spirit, and stop Europe's run of three straight wins and five of the last six.



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