Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After months of speculation about who would finish out the Ryder Cup team, USA Captain Paul Azinger made his selections public earlier this week. While the team will be missing the most famous golfer in the world in Tiger Woods, Kentuckians can be happy as two of its own made the final roster, including 2004 Ryder Cup member Kenny Perry and newcomer and University of Kentucky graduate, JB Holmes. The final four selections will join the original 8 members who were awarded spots on the team based on their final PGA points total.
The automatic 8 members are as follows:
Stewart Cink: This 35 year-old Ryder Cup veteran has been on three previous Ryder Cup teams, posting a 3-5-4 record. Cink attended Georgia Tech and turned professional in 1995.
Ben Curtis: Curtis joins the 2008 team as a first-timer in the Ryder Cup. The 31 year-old is a graduate of Kent State and turned professional in 2000.
Jim Furyk:: The 2008 Ryder Cup will be Furyk’s fifth time as a member of the US team. This graduate of Arizona University boasts a career Ryder Cup record of 4-9-2.
Anthony Kim: Another Ryder Cup rookie, Kim is the youngest of the members of the US team at age 23. Kim graduated from the University of Oklahoma.
Justin Leonard: Leonard returns to the US Ryder Cup team since his last appearance in 1999. Leonard graduated from Texas and has played in 8 Ryder Cup matches, posting a 0-3-5 career record.
Phil Mickelson: With the most impressive Ryder Cup resume on the 2008 team, Mickelson has a career record of 9-8-3 during the Cup. He ranks as the most experienced Ryder Cup member, having played for the US team 5 prior times.
Kenny Perry: Kentuckian Kenny Perry returns to the Ryder Cup for a second time, coming in 3rd place in PGA points. With an 0-2-0 record, this Western Kentucky graduate comes in as a local favorite.
Boo Weekley: The last of the automatic qualifiers, Weekley comes into this year’s Ryder Cup as a rookie, and attended perhaps the least known of the players’ colleges: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
The last four chosen:
Chad Campbell: One of the last four of the Captain’s picks, Campbell brings prior Ryder Cup experience to this year’s team. A UNLV graduate, Campbell turned professional in 1996.
J.B. Holmes: The second Kentuckian to make this year’s team, this Campbellsville, KY native is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. It will be his first time on a Ryder Cup team.
Hunter Mahan: Mahan also joins this year’s team as a rookie. Hunter Is 26 years old and attended Oklahoma State University, turning pro in 2003.
Steve Stricker: The oldest member of the US Ryder Cup team at 41, Strickler will be another of the six total US members who have never been on a Ryder Cup team.
Azinger brings a relatively inexperienced group of players to Valhalla for this world-class golfing contest. However with names like Mickelson, Furyk and Cink on your team, coupled with two home state competitors, all bets are off as the host nation hopes to bring the trophy home.