Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FOCUS ON GOLF / RYDER CUP

The Teams

September 25, 1997|Capsules by STEVE HORN, Times Staff Writer

UNITED STATES

TIGER WOODS

* Age: 21.

* Ryder Cups: First appearance.

* At a glance: He is Tiger Woods. And that means he already has become the top player in the world, regardless of what this week's Sony rankings say. He has won six times on the PGA Tour, including his record-breaking 12-shot victory in the Masters. He has set a single-season record for earnings. And if you're looking for a strong match-play record, check out three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles from 1994 through 1996. Remember last August, when the question was whether he would earn his tour card?

*

JUSTIN LEONARD

* Age: 25.

* Ryder Cups: First appearance.

* At a glance: If Woods has become the best player in the world, Leonard may have taken Corey Pavin's place as the toughest. He stared down the world with his victory in the British Open and gave Davis Love III a run for it in the PGA. Like Woods, he is a former U.S. Amateur champion. You wouldn't want to be playing against this Ryder Cup rookie Sunday.

*

TOM LEHMAN

* Age: 38.

* Ryder Cups: 1

* Singles: 1-0-0

* Alternate-shot: 1-1-0

* Better Ball: 0-0-0

* Points: 2-1

* At a glance: A very solid player. It's hard to knock his record in major championships, but it would have been nice to see him win one of the last three U.S. Opens. He had a tremendous 1996, when he won the British Open, set the earnings record broken by Woods and was named player of the year. He probably will remember 1997 most for hitting into the water on the 71st hole at Congressional, and that's not the kind of swing thought you want going into the Ryder Cup.

*

DAVIS LOVE III

* Age: 33

* Ryder Cups: 2

* Singles: 2-0-0

* Alternate-shot: 2-2-0

* Better Ball: 1-2-0

* Points: 5-4

* At a glance: He can't help but feel good about his PGA Championship at Winged Foot, where he threw off the burden of being TBPNTWAM (The Best Player Never to Win a Major) and left the questions for Phil Mickelson or Colin Montgomerie. Even if Love hadn't played his way onto the team, Tom Kite would have made him a captain's pick. Love and Fred Couples make a successful team, but Kite might want to split them up to spread the leadership around.

*

JIM FURYK

* Age: 27.

* Ryder Cup record: First appearance.

* At a glance: Another Ryder Cup rookie, and the big question with Furyk is: How will that swing hold up under pressure? The best thing to do is close your eyes until he hits it. He warmed up with an 80 at the Canadian Open. The unorthodox Furyk had a remarkable run this season, with nine top-10 finishes, including a fifth at the U.S. Open, fourth at the British Open and sixth at the PGA. That's a good way to pile up Ryder Cup points and money, and he earned almost $1.2 million.

*

PHIL MICKELSON

* Age: 27.

* Ryder Cups: 1

* Singles: 1-0-0

* Alternate-shot: 0-0-0

* Better Ball: 2-0-0

* Points: 3-0

* At a glance: Can he win a tournament? He added titles at Bay Hill and the International this year. Can he play under pressure? Take a look at that Ryder Cup record. He was the only undefeated American in the loss at Oak Hill in 1995. Can he hit the shots? No one, not even Woods, is more creative around the greens. Can he become the first left-hander since Bob Charles to win a major? Not yet, but some day it has to happen. And another 3-0 record in this competition would be almost as impressive.

*

JEFF MAGGERT

* Age: 33.

* Ryder Cups: 1

* Singles: 0-1-0

* Alternate-shot: 1-1-0

* Better Ball: 1-0-0

* Points: 2-2

* At a glance: Three things at which Maggert has become very good: Coming in second, winning a lot of money and finishing strong in the PGA Championship with a Ryder Cup berth on the line. He did it at Riviera in 1995, and then again at Winged Foot last month, with a 65, the best round of the tournament, to move him from 11th to seventh. He also finished fourth at the U.S. Open, despite a final-round 74 at Congressional.

*

MARK O'MEARA

* Age: 40.

* Ryder Cups: 3

* Singles: 0-3-0

* Alternate-shot: 1-1-0

* Better Ball: 1-1-1

* Points: 2 1/2-5 1/2

* At a glance: If they ever have the Ryder Cup matches at Pebble Beach, he is guaranteed to be a captain's pick, no matter how poorly he is playing. He won again there this season, beating good buddy Woods by a shot, then won at Torrey Pines the next week. He really hadn't been heard from since then until winning the Lancombe Trophy two weeks ago in France. O'Meara reportedly doesn't care much for Ryder Cup play (yes, those dinners can get pretty distracting). He should be providing veteran leadership for this young team, but time will tell.

*

SCOTT HOCH

* Age: 41.

* Ryder Cups: First appearance.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|