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Austin and Appleby play their way into Presidents Cup
The 10 automatic berths on the United States and International squads for the 2007 Presidents Cup were finalized Sunday in Tulsa, with Woody Austin and Stuart Appleby earning spots. The captain's picks will be announced Monday.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com Chief of Correspondents
TULSA, Okla. -- Woody Austin and Stuart Appleby punched their tickets to Montreal for the seventh Presidents Cup on Sunday.
Austin's second-place finish at the 89th PGA Championship vaulted him from 18th to 10th in the standings for the U.S. Team. Appleby, who was 12th in the International Team standings at the start of the week, also moved to 10th with his tie for 12th at Southern Hills.
The top 10 in the standings for each team at the end of the PGA Championship automatically qualified for the biennial matches that will be held Sept. 27-30 at The Royal Montreal Golf Club.
U.S. Captain Jack Nicklaus and International skipper Gary Player will pick two players to complete their teams on Monday morning. The announcement will be made at 10:00 a.m. ET and the teleconference will be broadcast live on PGATOUR.com.
"That makes me real happy because I've always wanted to be in one of those things," Austin said. "I think my personality suits that kind of competition.
I like the mano-a-mano, one-on-one, look you in the eye (competition) as opposed to coming out at 8 o'clock and the other guy comes out at 3.
"I like looking right at you when I'm playing you, and I think that's going to be a lot of fun."
Tiger Woods, who beat Austin by two strokes at Southern Hills on Sunday, thinks Austin will be a good addition to the U.S. Team. The other eight automatic qualifiers are Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, Scott Verplank, David Toms, Steve Stricker and Stewart Cink.
"Woody is fiery," Woods said. "He's competitive and I think that's what you need on those teams. You need someone that will get out there and give it his best ...
give his heart and soul in each and every round. And being so emotional, I think that's a good thing in team events. It adds to a team. It gets everyone more fired up and I think he will certainly enhance the team."
Appleby, who has played on four previous Presidents Cup teams, leapfrogged over fellow Aussie Nick O'Hern and replaced the red-hot Argentine, Andres Romero, in the No. 10 spot. O'Hern tied for 50th at Southern Hills while Romero missed the cut.
"It was really important for me to play my way on," Appleby said. "I didn't want to make Gary have to make a tough decision."
The other nine automatic qualifiers are Australians Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, Fiji's Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi of South Korea, Argentina's Angel Cabrera and South Africans Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman.
"This has got to be the toughest team in the world to make," said Immelman, who moved to eighth in the rankings after tying for sixth in the PGA Championship. "You've pretty much got to be in the top 20 in the world rankings. Obviously on paper, I think we have a hell of a strong team, but we've had a terrible record in that tournament.
"So, you know, hopefully our big guns can be ready for it, and come and lead the way for us."
The United States holds a 4-1-1 record in the matches.
Player has a host of worthy candidates to pick to complete his team. Looming large among the choices are two Canadians -- former Masters champion Mike Weir, who is 20th in the standings, and Stephen Ames, who started the final round of the PGA Championship in second and finished in a tie for 12th.
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"It will be interesting to see who he picks tomorrow, actually," Ogilvy said. "I wouldn't want to be Gary because it's hard picks. You have to think about Mike Weir in Canada, who is going to give the team a lift and it will be so much better if he is there. Stephen Ames, he'll be there. And Tim Clark, he's played unbelievable the last month -- if he had played (better) this week, he definitely should have got in."
Clark had finished second twice and sixth once in his three starts prior to the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut.
Nicklaus also has a tough decision. Austin displaced Lucas Glover, who had finished tied for 10th, 12th, 11th, 27th and 12th, before he came to Southern Hills, where he tied for 50th at 9 over.
Then there's Hunter Mahan, the PGA TOUR rookie who won the Travelers Championship in June and had ties for eighth, sixth, fifth and 22nd in his next four starts. He tied for 18th at Southern Hills.
John Rollins, who ranks 15th in the FedExCup; former Ryder Cupper Brett Wetterich; and 2007 PODS Championship winner, Mark Calcavecchia, are among other candidates.
Glover was clearly disappointed after he left the scoring trailer Sunday, even though Austin had yet to complete his round. He said he knew Nicklaus had many good choices and hoped he would be considered, as well.
"Obviously, I want to play," said Glover. "I did my best. It's just a matter of whether that was good enough."
"It's a great thrill, you know, for us," Immelman said. "I know we're not representing our country -- but when you're sitting at the opening ceremony and they play your anthem there, it's a proud moment.
"It's something that all sportsmen dream about growing up is representing your country and as golfers we don't get to do it that often. So any time you get that chance, it's really awesome."