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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2004

Dave Hackenberg's Ryder Cup ratings

Tiger Woods:

Star power: *●*●*●*●*

The skinny: Captain Hal has challenged him to be the horse, and our guess is he won't fall off this time. He'll frustrate Euro foes by the way he recovers from trouble. And has Tiger ever missed a really clutch putt?

Phil Mickelson:

Star power: *●*●*●*●*

The skinny: He's a different player now, but with the same swagger that has produced an 8-5-3 Ryder Cup record. He still plays lights-out, but with a higher regard for the perils that often used to dim his lights.

Chad Campbell:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: Here is the Americans' secret ingredient. He's a big, straight hitter, a rookie with the game and guts of a veteran. How's his nerve? "Silky smooth," said Sutton. Could be a points machine.

David Toms:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: He's a mentally tough, clutch putter and could assume a fiery leadership role. On the flip side, his game has been up and down since dealing with a wrist injury. Still, a plus.

Jim Furyk:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: He is very strong in singles play (2-0-1) and knows how to dig deep. But Sutton has to find a partner pairing that works.

Chris DiMarco:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: Don't let that goofy claw grip fool you, the man is a brilliant putter. The rest of his game isn't as good, but he has moxie.

Stewart Cink:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: He's far more confident than he used to be, and not many Americans are playing better right now. So if he can avoid hitting it too very crooked .●.●.

Jay Haas:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: He's playing better at age 50 than, perhaps, at any time in the last two decades. Ranks among the top 15 in scoring average, which means he's very, very steady.

Davis Love III:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: You just never know. He could be a major factor or he could disappear. It would help if he had more of a killer instinct.

Kenny Perry:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: A fine alternate-shot partner because he has two types of drives, straight and straighter. But he can struggle around the greens.

Chris Riley:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: He's a character who can get excited and bounce off walls. Sutton admitted yesterday that Riley is "a little uneasy," but the Ryder Cup is not a place for a top putter to get shaky.

Fred Funk:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: Hits an accurate tee shot, but it doesn't translate into hitting a lot of greens. Figures to be among least-used Americans.

Sergio Garcia:

Star power: *●*●*●*●*

The skinny: No longer the game's premier driver, but has a better overall game now. He typifies the Euros' spirit and emotion in Ryder Cup play. Loves the challenge, loves to win. Sound like Seve?

Colin Montgomerie:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: Always seems to find his putting touch during Ryder Cup. And he's always had the rest of the game. His life is in a bit of a shambles, but he lives for this stage.

Luke Donald:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: Perfect swing, perfect demeanor. Sort of like Bernhard Langer, which may be why Langer made him a captain's pick. He could prove to be the leader of the pack for Europe.

Padraig Harrington:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: He plays in three speeds [slow, slower, slowest], so opponents have to keep their cool. People criticize his swing, but he has the best world ranking of any Euro player.

Darren Clarke:

Star power: *●*●*●*

The skinny: If he makes some putts the U.S. could be in trouble. Although he has benefited from a fitness regimen, he's still a throwback to the days when golfers played hard and partied hard.

Ian Poulter:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: There's more to him than dyed hair and goofy clothes. Has one of Europe's top games and excels at match play. Could be a sleeper.

Paul Casey:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: This should be the start of a string of Ryder Cups for this clever young player who is solid - and long - from tee to green.

Lee Westwood:

Star power: *●*●*

The skinny: Is one of the most experienced players on the team, so he'll deal with the pressure. But can he deal with a putter that deserts him at times?

Thomas Levet:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: Iron play makes him dangerous in alternate-shot competition. A wonderful guy who may or may not have a mean streak on the course.

Paul McGinley:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: Players like to be partnered with him because he hits laser-like iron shots. Still feels the glow from sinking match-clinching putt in 2002 Ryder Cup.

Miguel Angel Jimenez:

Star power: *●*

The skinny: At age 40 he gets more out of a so-so game than anybody (No. 20 world ranking), but he just doesn't impress us as a key contributor on this team.

David Howell:

Star power: *

The skinny: He doesn't figure to play all that much, with a No. 68 world ranking, but he could steal a half-point or point with his putter.



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