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If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of Cup

MORNING BRIEFING

September 23, 1993|MAL FLORENCE

Television golf analyst Johnny Miller told Golf Digest that there could be some serious choking on the last day of the Ryder Cup competition this weekend if the matches are still close.

"The pressure is at an enormous pitch, more than even the players can anticipate or imagine," Miller said. "It's much more intense than at a major championship.

"The No. 1 source of pressure and choking is that you don't want to let your teammates down. It's the only time of the year when you care more about others than yourself."

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Add Ryder Cup: Miller analyzed the members of the American team. A sampling:

Fred Couples: "Not a gambler. Doesn't always care to put his reputation on the line. Doesn't relish pressure."

Paul Azinger: "The spirit of the team. Walks around like he's got a 220-volt wire stuck in him."

Davis Love III: "When he's going good, he's great. When he's bad, he's horrid."

Payne Stewart: "Day in and day out, hits the ball more solidly than anyone since Sam Snead."

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Trivia time: Who was the U.S. captain of the first Ryder Cup match in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Mass.?

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Odd couple: Steve Hershey of USA Today wrote that some Ryder Cup pairings can be disastrous, citing the European team of Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo in the 1991 matches at Kiawah Island, S.C.

"In hindsight, the problem was obvious," Hershey wrote. "Wee Woosie is a chatterbox; he makes Lee Trevino look like Marcel Marceau. Well, Faldo is the opposite. Ben Hogan talked more and he never said anything more than, 'You're away.' "

Woosnam and Faldo combined to lose two matches against American teams.

Sour grapes? Ronan Rafferty of Northern Ireland on the Ryder Cup: "People are bored with the Ryder Cup and so am I."

It should be noted that Rafferty didn't qualify for the team. He is the Europeans' alternate.

Come again? Seve Ballesteros commenting in the New York Times on Bernhard Langer's missing a six-foot putt that would have enabled the Europeans to retain the Ryder Cup in 1991:

"No one could have handled that situation better than Bernhard. But I think an important distinction needs to be made. None of us on the team feel that Bernhard missed the putt. He just didn't hole it."

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Only way to fly: Tom Watson, captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, already claims a record. He said that the team's flight from New York to Birmingham, England, on the Concorde took only 3 hours 5 minutes.

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FYI: The U.S. team won 22 of the first 25 Ryder Cup matches. Note: The British team became a European team in 1979.

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Trivia answer: Walter Hagen.

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Quotebook: Tom Kite on the pressure of Ryder Cup competition: "There's no way of getting used to it. For every eight major championships, you get one Ryder Cup."

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