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U.S. Ryder Cup team has its first eight members

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With solid performances at the 90th PGA Championship, Ben Curtis and Boo Weekley played their way onto the United States Ryder Cup team, joining six others who will attempt to break Europe's hex over the Americans.

John Kim, Coordinating Producer

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The United States Ryder Cup team is now two-thirds complete.

With the conclusion of the 90th PGA Championship on Sunday, the top eight points leaders on the Ryder Cup points list have earned a place representing their country at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., when the 2008 Ryder Cup takes place Sept. 16-21.

The Eight Automatic Qualifiers for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team
Phil Mickelson5,342.500
Stewart Cink4,952.665
Kenny Perry4,480.700
Jim Furyk4,423.892
Anthony Kim4,035.296
Justin Leonard3,379.274
Ben Curtis3,120.061
Boo Weekley2,785.095

The group has skewed younger, despite this being Phil Mickelson's seventh consecutive appearance, with three of the eight (Ben Curtis, Anthony Kim and Boo Weekley) will be participating in their first Ryder Cup.

"I've said this all along," Azinger noted on Wednesday, "that to me, experience is important but it is also overrated. I mean, experience now, anyone who has played Ryder Cup in the last six Ryder Cups has experience getting their (butt) beat. So, I mean, I'm not looking for experience."

Azinger will have a difficult time gauging the team's readiness for the battle with the European squad if he takes a snapshot of this past week

Of the automatic qualifiers, Curtis was the highest finishing American at the PGA Championship, where his stellar tie for second vaulted him from No. 21 to No. 9 on the U.S. Points List.

Stewart Cink failed to make the cut and Kenny Perry withdrew after the first round, citing an eye injury. Furyk, Kim, Justin Leonard and Weekley had solid weeks though were not in contention for the title, while Curtis tied for second place with a superior week, vaulting onto the team from 20th position last week.

Azinger has stated his reluctance to use the PGA Championship as a final barometer in making his captain's picks, though they would certainly play a part in his decision making.

"Doesn't mean anything, this isn't the Ryder Cup week," Azinger stated. "We have three weeks to go. I want a guy who is confident, and if the guy's confidence is shattered when he left here, join the club."

Azinger will complete the 12-member roster by announcing his four Captain's selections Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. EDT, at the Hotel Martinique on Broadway in New York City.

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