Don't expect Tiger-Phil pairing at The K Club
Last year at Oakland Hills, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were paired together for the first day of the Ryder Cup. They lost both matches, and the Americans went on to lose the Ryder Cup for the fourth time in five years. Don't look for the two to be paired together next year at The K Club, U.S. captain Tom Lehman said Wednesday.
June 29, 2005
STRAFFAN, Ireland (AP) -- American captain Tom Lehman said Wednesday he was unlikely to partner Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup next year at The K Club.
The two played together last year at Oakland Hills, but lost both matches on the first day before then-captain Hal Sutton split them up. Europe went on to a record 18 1/2-9 1/2 victory.
"That pairing should have worked, no doubt," Lehman said. "It didn't work, as we all know. I probably would have to have those guys come to me and say 'We want a second chance' before I did that."
"Sometimes putting your top guys together, if they don't win, it can be a psychological blow," he said. "You look to your top players to provide the leadership and inspiration. If they are not only getting trounced, but not having much fun together, you know, that's difficult."
Lehman was speaking ahead of the European Open at The K Club with his European counterpart, Ian Woosnam. Woosnam on Wednesday named former Ryder players Des Smyth of Ireland and Peter Baker of England as vice-captains. He also named former Masters and British Open champion Sandy Lyle of Scotland and David J. Russell of England as assistants.
Lehman named Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts as his assistants earlier.
Europe has won four of the last five Ryder Cups.
Lehman said the Americans would be the underdogs next year.
"I have a very difficult time calling someone like Tiger Woods an underdog," he said.
"However, in team events, two plus two equals about six or seven. I think that, quite frankly, we will be underdogs, no doubt about it. We deserve to be underdogs.
"The Europeans always play phenomenally together and hole a lot of putts. There's just a bunch of talent on this European tour and the European team will be very, very strong."
Lehman is playing the European Open this week, partly to scout the course for next year.
"I almost didn't recognize the golf course, quite frankly. The last time I played here was '96 and the course has matured beautifully," he said. "It's improved significantly. I used to like the course. I love the course now. I hope the guys on our team love it as much as I do."
Lehman said he could be a playing captain next year.
"I said we want our 12 best players on the golf course, no matter who they are. My game has improved lately and if it keeps improving I would definitely have to consider that strongly," he said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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