Azinger says '10 Ryder Cup captain won't be him

12/8/2008 - Golf Paul Azinger

Paul Azinger won't return as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team, he told Bob Verdi of GolfWorld.com on Monday.

"All I can say is that it's not going to be me," Azinger told GolfWorld.com. "You'll find out who it is on Thursday."

Azinger captained the U.S. team to a win over Europe at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., last September. The 2010 Ryder Cup is set for Wales.

According to GolfWorld.com, Azinger would not elaborate on whether he was asked to captain another team. He did tell Golf World several weeks ago that he would be interested in a second stint as the Ryder Cup captain.

The PGA of America is supposed to name the 2010 captain on Thursday afternoon in New York. PGA of America spokesman Julius Mason declined comment.

Corey Pavin, one of several players mentioned as a possible successor to Azinger, was unavailable for comment when contacted by GolfWorld.com.

Azinger was coy last week at the Father-Son Championship when asked whether he would like to return. Jack Nicklaus in 1987 was the last American to be captain more than once, and the Americans have not had a captain repeat since Ben Hogan in 1949.

Instead, Azinger deferred to the PGA of America.

"I don't want to jump the gun and try to get the message out ahead of when they want the message out," Azinger said Thursday.

Europe had won the Ryder Cup three consecutive times -- the previous two matches by record scores -- when Azinger took over and persuaded the PGA of America to revamp the qualification process to base it exclusively on money, with more weight on the majors. He also had a record four captain's picks.

When they arrived at Valhalla, Azinger broke his 12-man team into three pods of personality traits and kept them together in practice rounds and matches, telling them to take ownership of their group.

Even without Tiger Woods, the Americans won the opening session and never trailed in a 15½-12½ victory.

Azinger was feted as "Captain America," and Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard were among the players who shouted "Azinger in 2010" during the winning news conference.

PGA chief executive Joe Steranka had said the next captain likely would not be announced until early next year because he wanted this team to enjoy the victory as long as possible.

Pavin has been the top candidate all along.

He was a frequent visitor to the PGA's hospitality room at Oakland Hills during the PGA Championship and was among the top Ryder Cup players during the peak of his career.

Pavin, whose lone major title was the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, had an 8-5-0 record in three Ryder Cup appearances, two of them U.S. victories. He last played in the Ryder Cup in 1995 at Oak Hill, and he was one of Tom Lehman's assistants in Ireland two years ago.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report