If the Ryder Cup, scheduled to take place Sept. 21-24 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., were to be played this week, Europe's top five players would be Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jos� Mar�a Olaz�bal and Ian Woosnam. Total Ryder Cup appearances: 25. The top five American players would be Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry and Loren Roberts. Total Ryder Cup appearances: two, by Pavin.
"Their team is real strong," admits U.S. captain Lanny Wadkins. "Their first five players are all their big guns."
Wadkins is not worried. Twenty-five events remain before the U.S. team is finalized, and there's plenty of talent vying for his squad's 12 slots. Points are awarded for Top 10 results in PGA events from the beginning of 1994 through this August's PGA Championship. Greater weight is given to this year's results—a win in a regular Tour event, worth 75 points in 1994, counts for 150 points in '95, while a win in a major is up from 225 points to 300—and as a result, big swings are occurring in the standings every week. Perry jumped from 14th to fifth with his win at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Peter Jacobsen (now seventh) leapfrogged from 88th to 24th to sixth with his back-to-back wins at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Buick Invitational of California. On the bubble for the team are Tom Kite, Bruce Lietzke, Mark McCumber and Ben Crenshaw.
"I don't think I'm going to have a feel for my team until the U.S. Open," Wadkins says. With 51 out of 77 events in this Ryder Cup points cycle completed, Fred Couples is 21st, Davis Love III 30th, Payne Stewart 40th and Tom Watson 42nd. Wadkins is giving a hard look at 15th-rankcd Curtis Strange, who finished tied for third two weeks ago at the Bob Hope and who won his second consecutive U.S. Open title at Oak Hill in 1989. "Curtis is a big part of my plans," says Wadkins. "He's in great shape. He wants to be on the team."
Strange hasn't played in a Ryder Cup since 1989 at the Belfry, when he beat Woosnam 2 up to secure a 14-14 draw against Tony Jacklin's team. Watson, who also hasn't played since '89, could make the team despite his bad putting, as a captain's selection. "As good as he's playing and as good as he's hitting it, in match play he'd be a factor," says Wadkins. "Who knows? He might solve his putting woes by then, too. He might make the team outright if he gets to cookin'."
It took Herman Mitchell, one of the world's most famous caddies, 57 years, but last Tuesday at the county courthouse in Pensacola. Fla., he got married.
His bride is Charlene Fields, a woman he dated more than 20 years ago. They went their separate ways, but two months ago a cupid named Lee Trevino—Mitchell's boss—intervened.
While Trevino was recuperating from neck surgery in Florida, he prodded Mitchell into making the drive from West Palm Beach to the Panhandle to reclaim his lost love. "Herman," he said, "you've got a new body, new teeth, money and a big, long Cadillac. Now why don't you go to Pensacola and parade around."