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Five things a captain does

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Anybody who has been a Ryder Cup captain can tell you there are dozens of things to do in preparation, many of them having nothing to do with golf. Here are the five most important chores for a captain:

No. Responsibility
1. Wild cards. The men who have been captain all say the same thing - the most difficult and most important thing they must do is make the right Captains Picks. The wild cards can and have meant victory - or defeat - in the most closely contested Ryder Cups.
2. Pairings. Even with 12 of the best players in the world, its not a given that the pairings will be right. There are personalities to consider and styles of golf to be mixed and matched. Sometimes opposites attract - and sometimes they mix like oil and water.
3. The lineups. It's not exactly an artform but it can't be done haphazardly, either. Getting the right pairings out at the right time is pivotal and that means understanding the psyche of the golfers and their habits, right down to who is an early-riser and who likes to sleep in.
4. Keep the pressure off the players, even if that means putting it on yourself. A team that is loose and having fun is well on its way. It's easy to have fun when you're winning. The Americans haven't had the luxury of playing with the lead at the Ryder Cup in this century so theyve had to manufacture fun. It's a lot easier when you just win, baby.
5. Communicate. The players appreciate knowing where they stand. They dont like surprises that disrupt routines. The challenge for a captain is to communicate without appearing to be condescending.