HAVEN, Wis. -- Corey Pavin's competitive week ended early at the PGA Championship with rounds of 79-80--159, but the U.S. Ryder Cup captain took some solace from how American-heavy the leader board was after the second round was completed Saturday morning at Whistling Straits. Led by Matt Kuchar, U.S. golfers occupied 10 of the top 14 positions.
"It's nice to see certain names up there and things going well for potential members of the team," Pavin said. "I want to see any American playing well and moving up."
Pavin demurred when asked if Tiger Woods' three-under performance through 36 holes had helped or hurt his cause. "I'm going to watch everybody and see how they're playing," Pavin said, noting he will make his four captain's selections on Sept. 7. "There are a lot of options out there, a lot of guys who deserve to be looked at. There are a lot of guys playing well this week who may not crack the top eight but are going to [help] themselves by playing well."
Although the points list will stop following this week with the eight automatic qualifiers, Pavin will keep track "like the points are continuing on. [My selections] are not going to be based on points, but it'll help. A lot of it will be kind of a gut feeling. Some of it will be watching them and see how they perform. Just because they perform better than another player doesn't mean I'm going to pick them. But it's going to give them a better chance."
While players will "audition" for the next couple of weeks, Pavin plans to compete in the Jeld-Wen Tradition and Home Care & Hospice First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on the Champions Tour before shutting down his playing schedule until after the Ryder Cup.
"I'll get a lot of input," he said of his captain's selections. "I'll be talking to my assistants. I'll be talking to the eight guys who make the team, [listen to] their comments and what they feel and maybe who they want to play with. It may not be the guys who are in the top eight. I'm going to take all that into account and come up with four names."
Pavin will consult PGA Tour statistics, but he says they won't trump his intuition when it comes to his picks. "I look at every stat," he said, "but as not as hard as maybe some others will look at them. It's more of kind of a gut feel of who I think will play well. I think they have to be in reasonable form as well. Most of my decisions are going to be more from the gut than from looking at stats and things like that. If it gets to the point where I'm undecided with just my gut feeling then I'll start looking at a couple of stats."
-- Bill Fields