Azinger staying out of Ryder Cup mess

Paul Azinger shares the Ryder Cup with fans after his team's 2008 victory.

Paul Azinger shares the Ryder Cup with fans after his team's 2008 victory.


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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – At least one person is paying little attention to this week’s PGA Championship or the controversy surrounding Tiger Woods’ potential selection to the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Paul Azinger is spending the week riding his motorcycle instead of sweating over 4-footers at Whistling Straits, he said from a rest stop in the Shenandoah Mountains.

Azinger, who had packed his motorcycle on the car train from Sanford, Fla., to Lorton, Va., hopped onto his bike, took a left and went down Highway 66 to the Shenandoah Parkway on a six-day trip that will take him back home to Florida.

Two years ago, Azinger, the Ryder Cup captain, was in the same PGA news conference that Corey Pavin was in Wednesday – a little less excitement but with knowledge that he had four weeks to make his captain’s selections.

In negotiating changes with the PGA of America, Azinger had fought to get four weeks’ time after the PGA and a fourth captain’s pick.

Now with the Woods controversy, it seems that one of the advantages Azinger had in 2008 – more time to make his picks – might have been partially diminished if in fact Woods has been told he is on the team.

“The reason for changing the selection process was to give the captain an additional three full weeks to make the decision – not naming someone before the (PGA) Championship even has started,’’ Azinger said.

Azinger also tweeted as much earlier Wednesday: “Pavin says he was misquoted by Jim Gray..good news, system changed to pick as close to RC as possible. Not before pga.”

If Azinger had been in the same spot, he was unsure whether Woods would have been a captain’s pick or not. He mentioned his pods system in which players were divided into smaller groups to maximize their ability to succeed under pressure.

“With the pod system, I think Woods would have been green lighted into any of the pods,” Azinger said. “It would then be up to the players if they wanted him or not.”

Azinger has had little contact with Pavin and has decided not to attend the Ryder Cup in October in Wales. 

“I was asked to cover the event for ESPN,” Azinger said, “but coming over for only one day didn’t make sense.”

So Azinger will sit on his couch in Bradenton, Fla., and watch. He plans to Tweet the entire time with his thoughts. 

That could be more interesting than the event itself.

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