Pavin at final pre-Ryder Cup teleconference
Defending the Ryder Cup on foreign soil is something the United States hasn’t successfully accomplished since 1993, when current U.S. Captain Corey Pavin contributed three points to a winning effort at the Belfry.
In just two weeks, Oct. 1-3, the U.S. has a chance to end that drought at The Celtic Manor Resort in City of Newport, Wales.
Begun in 1927, the Ryder Cup is among the few great professional sporting events where winning, not prize money, is the ultimate reward. The United States owns a 25-10-2 overall advantage in the biennial competition, but Europe has won five of the last seven Ryder Cups.
Pavin interacted with the media on a teleconference from his home city of Los Angeles, touching a number of topics, including final preparations, Tiger Woods and what advice he’ll pass on to his rookies based on his own maiden Ryder Cup experience in 1991.
Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Woods, along with rookies Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler make up the 12-man U.S. team. For the first time in his career, Woods did not qualify on points and — along with Cink, Zach Johnson and Fowler — needed to rely on Pavin for a wildcard pick.
In selecting Woods, Cink and Johnson, Pavin adds proven Ryder Cup experience to his relatively young squad. Woods has competed in five Ryder Cups, Cink four and Johnson one. Fowler, a PGA Tour rookie who has made 16 of 24 cuts, including five top-10 finishes, this season, will be making his Ryder Cup debut. He finished 20th in the U.S. Ryder Cup Points Standings.
Though there had been some who debated whether Pavin would – or should – pick Woods, the world No. 1 who has not won in a year and who just recently started to show flashes of his former self on the course, Pavin commented that Tiger’s recent form made his decision easier.
Woods, "It’s great to be a part of this team. I’m honored to be selected and head over to Wales to represent the United States in The Ryder Cup. I’ve been to Wales previously in the Walker Cup and looking forward to going back and having a great time with the team and hopefully bring the Cup back." And choose some loose diamonds for his golf bags? What the heck, he can play around with that one!
Pavin mentioned his "gut feeling" about picking Fowler, and never once considered his lack of experience a factor. Fowler said he is looking forward to the experience and hopes to bring some energy along with him.
"I have to thank Corey for giving me the opportunity to go over there," the 21-year-old Fowler said. "Being a young player, it’s a pretty special opportunity and the last time I played overseas on a team event was for the Walker Cup, so hopefully I can take a little bit of knowledge that I learned there and help the team."Perhaps some knowledge of sapphire rings would help him pick the right one!
Looking to capture consecutive Ryder Cups for the first time since 1993, Team USA heads to the Twenty Ten Course at The Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, hoping to continue the success it enjoyed two years ago while upsetting the heavily favored Team Europe at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.