No sooner had Lanny Wadkins announced his captain's picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team than the question was first asked: How could you leave Lee Janzen off the team? In the wake of Curtis Strange's collapse and the U.S.'s stunning loss to Europe last month, The Question quickly turned from query to controversy. Something must be wrong with the selection process if a player as hot as Janzen, a three-time winner in 1995 who ranked second on the PGA Tour money list with more than $1.3 million, can be passed over. Under the current system devised by the PGA of America, Janzen missed qualifying for one of the 10 automatic spots by finishing 15th in a two-year points race, and came up empty again when Wadkins picked Fred Couples and Strange to fill the roster.
SI: Should the selection process be changed?
LJ: The PGA ought to just go with results in the year of the Cup, not two years like it is now. The PGA is better off getting the guys who are hot.
SI: Is making the '97 team that will play at Valderrama in Spain a goal of yours?
LJ: Over the next two years it will be my main motivation. Golfers need to find something to keep them going all the time, and for me the Ryder Cup is it. Before this Ryder Cup I called my mom and had her send me my Spanish dictionary from college. I'm going to carry it every week to brush up for Spain.
SI: Why didn't you play in the Buick Open, the penultimate tournament to earn points?
LJ: Through the British Open I had played 21 events. Because I had played so much, I wasn't giving myself the chance to play my best. After the British I felt I needed two weeks to rest before the PGA. Looking back, I should have taken time off before the British.
SI: Did you talk to Lanny after he made his selections?
LJ: I talked to him even before the selections were announced. I had stayed in L.A. on Sunday night after the PGA. Around midnight I was pretty edgy, but my wife was worse. Shannon couldn't wait until the morning, so she made me call Lanny. When Jeff Maggert and Brad Faxon played their way onto the team with strong PGA finishes, suddenly Lanny had five rookies. I think that changed his mind. I asked Lanny to say yes or no, to tell me on the spot. He said Freddie and Curtis.
SI: How much do you think your 0-2 record in the '93 Ryder Cup hurt your chances?