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United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said of his three assistant captains,
United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said of his three assistant captains, "It is my intention to lean on these guys." (Photo: The PGA of America)

Azinger names Floyd, Browne, Stockton to Ryder Cup staff

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United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger went for experience and friendship when choosing his staff for the 2008 Matches at Oakland Hills, picking former captains Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton and good pal Olin Browne to serve as his assistants.

TULSA, Okla. -- United States Captain Paul Azinger has named former Ryder Cup Captains Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton, along with Tour regular Olin Browne, to serve as assistants for the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team.

The trio, announced Wednesday at a news conference at Southern Hills Country Club, will serve Sept. 16-21, 2008, at the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Floyd, 64, a four-time major champion, is a veteran of eight Ryder Cup Teams, posting a 12-16-3 record and serving as Captain in 1989. He won one of his two PGA Championships at Southern Hills in 1982.

Stockton, 64, won PGA Championships in 1970 at Southern Hills and in 1976 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. He served on two Ryder Cup Teams, compiling a 3-1-1 record. Stockton was Captain in 1991, when the U.S. edged Europe, 14? to 13?, at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.

Browne, 48, is one of Azinger's closest friends on Tour, and owns three PGA Tour and four Nationwide Tour victories since joining the PGA Tour in 1995.

"The assistants really haven't been an integral part of the Ryder Cup until recently, and I believe now I've made a decision that with my picks, I'm going to make them an important part of this next Ryder Cup for me," said Azinger. "And, it is my intention to lean on these guys.

"Raymond Floyd won the PGA Championship here in 1982, and is a very good friend, a tremendous player, very intense, a great judge of talent. He has a love affair with the Ryder Cup. I love Raymond Floyd and I love his family and I want them to be a part of it, and I want them to be a part of it with me.

"Raymond and Dave were both Captains on Ryder Cup Teams that I played on. I think that there's a lot of wisdom in Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton and a lot of experience that I plan on leaning on; and I think that together we're going to do everything we can to try to get this next Ryder Cup right."

Azinger called Browne "one of the smartest men I know."

"He's contemporary. He's in touch with the players; he knows what's going on out here," said Azinger. "All of the players love him and I wanted to share this Ryder Cup with him and his family as well."

Floyd echoed Azinger's comments about the new selection process helping form a stronger team.

"This is about a competition and your pride and you're playing for your country," said Floyd. "I just believe that they (Europe) have had a number of players that have played together often enough and they have a comfort level because they have won. They have had the good experience."

Stockton said that Europe's extra Captain assistants figured into a success story for past Ryder Cup Teams.

"One of the biggest things I saw between the Europeans and ourselves is we would have two assistants and they would have way more than two," said Stockton. "There was a group of people that were making an effort."

Browne called the invitation to serve as an assistant "an incredible honor."

"Golf is global, but the Ryder Cup has preceded the rest of golf in terms of that," said Browne. "I'm proud to represent my country and my tour and The PGA of America, and also the fact that Paul had the kind of confidence and faith to invite me into the fold. So, I'm basically speechless for the first time in my life."

Ten members of the 2008 U.S.12-member team that will compete against Europe will be selected following the 90th PGA Championship, Aug. 4-10, 2008, at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich. There will be four Captain's selections named at a date to be determined.

About the Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup is one of the most spirited, exciting and compelling events in sport, covering nearly 80 years, involving the greatest players in the world and producing some of the greatest moments in the game. In 2008, the U.S. will face Europe, which scored a stunning 18? to 9? victory over the United States in 2006 at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland. Captain Nick Faldo will lead the 2008 European Ryder Cup Team.

About the PGA of America
The PGA of America is the world's largest working sports organization, comprised of 28,000 men and women golf Professionals who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf, while serving millions of people throughout its 41 PGA Sections nationwide. Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has enhanced its leadership position in a $62 billion-a-year industry by growing the game of golf through its premier spectator events, world-class education and training programs, significant philanthropic outreach initiatives, and award-winning golf promotions. Today's PGA Golf Professional is the public's link to the game, serving an essential role in the operation of golf facilities throughout the country.

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