St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Sutton to head Ryder Cup team

©Associated Press

October 23, 2002


Hal Sutton's next role in the Ryder Cup is to make sure the American team shares his passion for the matches.

Hal Sutton's next role in the Ryder Cup is to make sure the American team shares his passion for the matches.

A no-nonsense player and the emotional leader of the past two teams, Sutton agreed Tuesday to become the U.S. captain for the 2004 Ryder Cup, according to the Associated Press.

Sutton met with PGA of America officials last week during the Disney World Golf Classic and accepted the job after talking with his family.

PGA spokesman Julius Mason declined comment except to say there would be an announcement Thursday at Oakland Hills Country Club outside Detroit, where the next Ryder Cup will be played.

"He was the obvious choice and the most qualified player for 2004," previous captain Curtis Strange said. "Everybody respects him so much because he's such a stand-up guy. He'll be a great captain."

Sutton declined to confirm his selection.

Sutton will be in charge of bringing the Ryder Cup back to the United States after it lost to Europe at The Belfry 151/2-121/2, the largest margin in 17 years.

Europe has won or retained the Ryder Cup in six of the past nine matches.

"We shouldn't lose these things the way we're losing them," Sutton said last week. "There's way too much talent over here."

Strange was criticized for putting his best two players, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, at the bottom of the lineup last month. The strategy failed when Mickelson lost to Phillip Price, who was No.119 in the world.

Sutton has played in four Ryder Cups, none more memorable than 1999. He went 3-1-1 and helped lead the rally that beat Europe.

Sutton, who will be 46 at the next Ryder Cup, said last week that if he were ever asked to be captain, he would not be afraid of any criticism that comes with the job.

"The neat part about that is you're in a big enough position that everybody not making that decision can sit around and criticize you," Sutton said. "If you're afraid to be second-guessed, you better not make any decisions."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.