U.S. Captain Doesn't Stick With His Guns

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Ben Crenshaw defended his pairings for the opening day of competition by saying, "I'd do the same thing again."

In his first opportunity, he didn't. The pairings for this morning's foursomes looked dramatically different. Most notable was the absence of David Duval, the world's second-ranked player.

Duval lost when paired with Phil Mickelson in Friday's first match and with Tiger Woods in the last match of the day.

Also absent from this morning's pairings was Davis Love III, whose pair of clutch putts helped the United States halve two matches Friday and accounted for half of the team's two points. Love is still recovering from a nerve injury in his neck--if he'd followed doctor's orders, he would not even be playing this week--and said he did not feel up to playing 36 holes two consecutive days.

The only pairing Crenshaw kept intact was Hal Sutton-Jeff Maggert, who produced America's lone victory Friday. They will lead off against Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie. Mark O'Meara will play for the first time in the second match, with Jim Furyk against Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. Woods will have his third partner, captain's pick Steve Pate, to play Miguel Angel Jimenez and Padraig Harrington. Payne Stewart and Justin Leonard will play Jesper Parnevik and Sergio Garcia.

European captain Mark James' pairings are the same ones he used for Friday morning's matches, which the Europeans won, 2 1/2-1 1/2.

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O'Meara, on not playing in either match Friday: "It's always frustrating when you can't get out there and play, but that's the captain's decision. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Ben's trying to do the best he can as captain. It's not easy."

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James played four of his Ryder Cup rookies and none of them lost, going a combined 4-0-3.

Garcia was 2-0, Lawrie and Jimenez were each 1-0-1 and Harrington was 0-0-1.

"We probably didn't expect to get that many points, but they performed how I expected them to perform," James said.

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James was asked to describe the mood of his players:

"Chuffed," he said.

Translation?

"Pleased," James said.

And Crenshaw's description of his players' mood:

"Frustrated," he said.

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Buying merchandise at the Ryder Cup might never have been so expensive. There's a 20,000-square-foot tent at the Country Club, selling everything from socks to golf balls to shirts, hats, sweaters and, of course, crystal glassware.

A women's hand-knit sweater goes for $120, most men's shirts about $63. Caps can cost $26 and T-shirts about $17. Anxious shoppers will be relieved to know there are 40 cash registers to speed them back out on the course, where the logos are in full bloom.

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For what it's worth, the Golf Channel has 39 people at the Ryder Cup, or enough to have one for each player and 15 left over.

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Love, on what's going to happen the rest of the way: "It's going to be really close."

That's not really going out on a limb. There hasn't been more than a two-point margin of victory since Europe's 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory in 1985 at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

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Today's Pairings

Alternate Shot, Times Pacific

* 4:30 a.m.--Colin Montgomerie-Paul Lawrie, Europe, vs. Jeff Maggert-Hal Sutton.

* 4:45 a.m.--Lee Westwood-Darren Clarke, Europe, vs. Jim Furyk-Mark O'Meara.

* 5 a.m.--Miguel Angel Jimenez-Padraig Harrington, Europe, vs. Tiger Woods-Steve Pate.

* 5:15 a.m.--Jesper Parnevik-Sergio Garcia, Europe, vs. Payne Stewart-Justin Leonard.

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