The 31st Ryder Cup, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., is still almost two months away, but for Lanny Wadkins, the U.S. captain, crunch time has arrived. That's because his 12-man team, including the two selections he must make, will be finalized in two weeks, after the PGA Championship. Wadkins has played in all eight Ryder Cups since 1977, winning 20 matches, which ranks second only to Arnold Palmer's 22. Wadkins, though, has struggled of late and will not be a playing captain in Rochester, where he will attempt to lead the U.S. to a third consecutive victory.
SI: Has interest in the Ryder Cup peaked?
LW: I saw an interesting quote recently from Colin Montgomerie. He said that interest in the Cup will have peaked if the Europeans don't win again, and soon. I agree. Obviously we don't want to accommodate them.
SI: How will it feel not playing?
LW: It's going to be tough. I'm sure I'll have enough stomach acid to wear the chrome off a set of irons. I can't imagine sitting out there for a whole week and not feeling helpless. It'll be the first situation like that for me. The good thing is I'll be busy.
SI: Where are you with your two captain's selections?
LW: The last few weeks I've been waking up in the middle of the night thinking about this guy and that guy and different reasons to make a pick. I was hoping my picks would be easy. They're not. I've got a lot of veterans who are not among the top 10, guys like [Curtis] Strange and [Tom] Watson and [Fred] Couples and [Paul] Azinger and [Tom] Kite. And there's Lee Janzen, who's won a U.S. Open and The Players Championship.
SI: If the Ryder Cup came down to one man, who would you like that man to be?
LW: Right now, on that course, Corey Pavin would probably be my man. Corey's a hell of a competitor. He putts well. He's never out of a hole because of his ability to get it up and down. And he's a great pressure player.
SI: What will the U.S. uniforms look like?