United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin doesn't have to reinvent the wheel at Wales in 2010
The worst thing Corey Pavin could possibly do as he assumes the United States captainship from 2008 hero Paul Azinger is try and do too much leading up to Wales in 2010.
Don’t mess around with the dinner schedule, don’t make Tiger Woods sing karaoke against his will in front of everyone (ala Tom Lehman), don’t mess with the selection process & captains picks, and don’t over-think the pairings (ala Hal Sutton pairing Tiger and Phil Mickelson).
The nitty gritty has already been done by ‘Zinger, leading them back to the winner’s circle in 2008 following a nine-year drought. After throwing their own captain Nick Faldo under the bus & whining about American spectator etiquette all fall, it’s the Europeans’ turn to hit the panic button and finger point for the next two years.
I don’t think Azinger was ever against the idea of captaining the 2010 team, coming off his triumphant success at Valhalla where he was all but given the keys to the White House. Justin Leonard started the “‘Zinger in 10″ chant that’s been echoed since, but the PGA of America has turned to Pavin, who carries a solid Ryder Cup record himself.
Pavin is being put in an unenviable position here. When Azinger took over, the bar couldn’t have been lower. Then, Tiger Woods announced he’s sit out the remainder of the 2008 season including the Ryder Cup.
Valhalla would have been considered a U.S. success so long as none of the players walked off the 18th green with a wedgie.
Now, the U.S.A. expects to win again heading to Celtic Manor. And Woods will likely be on the team, which will add to the expectations and the question marks about how best to pair this supposed “lone wolf” with others.
Europe will be energized. They won’t be caught sleeping. They’re going to play tough, the fans might play dirty.
Pavin probably won’t want to make Azinger a Captain’s assistant, because there would be too many questions about who the lead chief really is. But he should definitely take a few meetings with him and keep an open ear about pairings and compatibility. Azinger’s decision to keep his pairings together through the first four matches was a brilliant one - made especially more so after Faldo kept fuddling with his and struggled with winded players like Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington.
Personally, I only have one request for Pavin: so long as Boo Weekley hasn’t retired by 2010 to his fishing hole, he is a mandatory captain’s pick (if he isn’t in the top eight). Not only has he become the face of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, he really puts a wrinkle in Lee Westwood & the European’s nose. I’d love to see how Wales greets the Boo-meister when he arrives.
And I hope he brings a legion of fans in ghost costumes with him.
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