PALM BEACH, Florida -- U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has changed the format for September's showdown with Europe, announcing a switch in timing for the foursomes and four-ball matches.
Azinger is hoping a switch in timing for the foursomes and four-balls will improves the U.S' Ryder Cup chances.
Morning foursomes matches will be followed by afternoon four-ball matches on the first two days of play when holders Europe travel to Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky, for the 37th Ryder Cup from September 19-21.
That format was last used in the event in 1999 when the Americans made the greatest final-day fightback in history in the singles matches to defeat Europe 14 1/2-13 1/2 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Since 1973, U.S. teams have gone 3-2 with a draw in Ryder Cup events using the format as it will be played this year.
With morning four-ball (best ball) and afternoon foursomes (alternate stroke) matches used in the past two Ryder Cups, the Europeans have routed their rivals by 18 1/2-9 1/2.
Azinger hopes the Americans can shake off their poor showings in pairs play to avoid the early holes that have punctuated recent defeats.
"I felt the Americans had an edge in alternate shot and I think it's partly responsible for why Europe have got off to a pretty hot start," Azinger said.
"I've decided to change that back and I hope it's the right decision. We're switching back to alternate shot in the morning. We'll just see how it plays out."
The U.S. captain has also altered the selection method for his squad, putting more importance on this year's results and giving himself four captain's choices rather than two as before.
The first eight members of the squad will be decided based upon a points race that concludes after the final round of the PGA Championship, the year's final major, on August 10.
Azinger will then wait until September 2 to name the remaining four players on the squad. "Changing the selection process was important," Azinger said. "I think Europe have a better selection process. It's partly the reason why they've played so much better than us in the last few Ryder Cups." E-mail to a friend
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