By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
KOHLER, Wis. -- The identity of the players the two captains are considering to complete their Ryder Cup teams is always a subject of speculation at the PGA Championship.
But the interest has intensified this week with Tiger Woods hovering outside the automatic qualifiers and U.S. Captain Corey Pavin asserting he was misquoted in a TV report that indicated the world No. 1 had already locked up a captain's pick.
During a press conference Wednesday, Pavin reiterated what he had "tweeted" earlier -- that he did not tell GOLF CHANNEL's Jim Gray that Woods would definitely receive one of his four picks should he not qualify on points.
Woods currently ranks 10th in the standings and only the top eight at the end of the PGA Championship make the team. Pavin will make his four captain's picks on Sept. 7 after the BMW Championship is over.
"Let's straighten this out right now," Pavin said. "I had a conversation with Jim Gray yesterday just outside the locker room near where we registered and he asked me a few questions and his interpretation of what I said is incorrect.
"There's nobody that's promised any picks right now,” Pavin added. “It would be disrespectful to everybody that's trying to make the team. I've got quite a few people I'm looking at.
"I would not disrespect any of the players that are potential players on the team, and obviously there was a misinterpretation of what I said, and that is an incorrect quote."
According to an article on golfchannel.com, Gray stands by his report. Pavin declined to get into specifics of the conversation saying only that the report was incorrect.
"Let's just keep it as simple as that," Pavin said.
Pavin said he was considering as many as 20 potential players. He said he had spoken with Woods on Wednesday but revealed none of the conversation other than that they talked about their kids and what they might have for dinner that night.
"The conversations I have with all of my players or potential playes are between us," Pavin said.
Pavin did say he was "glad" to hear Woods say Tuesday that he would accept a captain's pick. At the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on SUnday after he finished next-to-last, Woods had appeared less than positive when asked if he even wanted to play in the matches in Wales at Celtic Manor in October.
"Not playing like this, definitely not, not playing like this," he said on Sunday after shooting a 77. "I wouldn't help the team if I'm playing like this. No one would help the team if they're shooting 18-over par."
Pavin said he never doubted Woods' desire to play in the Ryder Cup. "I thought he certainly wants to play in the Ryder Cup, and he wants to play well when he plays in the Ryder Cup," Pavin said. "It didn't surprise me at all."
Pavin's European counterpart Colin Montgomerie has plenty of difficult decisions of his own with players like Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia currently not qualified for his team. Like Pavin, he said he hopes Woods, who has not broken par in his last seven rounds, regains some form this week and manages to play his way onto the U.S. team.
Montgomerie said there is still a "huge aura" regarding Woods, despite his on and off the course struggles this year. "And it's the one name that all our team will be looking for it they are going to play against him in any form of the Ryder Cup Friday, Saturday or Sunday," he said.
But would Montgomerie pick him?
"Oh, that's a very difficult, dangerous, and undiplomatic question," Montgomerie said with a grin, eliciting laughter from the reporters. "But of course I'd pick him, yes."
To which Pavin responded, "Let me make a note of that. Thanks for the help. Appreciate it. He's very helpful that way, Colin is."