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Captaincy issues looming for the Americans

When the Presidents Cup made its debut in 1994, captains Hale Irwin and David Graham were in their late 40s.

Since then, the PGA Tour has gone with more ceremonial figures -- Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus (twice), Ken Venturi, Peter Thomson (three times) and Gary Player.

Officials are said to be looking at younger captains (Fred Couples is a leading candidate for '05), which could present a problem for players who also want the Ryder Cup captaincy.

Do they take the Presidents Cup job at the risk of losing a chance to be captain of the more popular Ryder Cup?

The PGA Tour (Presidents Cup) and PGA of America (Ryder Cup) are competitive, and the PGA of America might not be inclined to settle for used goods.

``Guys are not going to mess up the Ryder Cup captaincy,'' Davis Love III said. ``They're going to be very, very careful. If we want Fred to be Presidents Cup captain, he's going to go, 'Hang on a minute.' He'll call the PGA of America ... and say, 'What do you think my odds are?'''

Couples said the PGA Tour has not contacted him about the '05 Presidents Cup, but that he would be interested.

``Can you imagine me captaining Davis Love and Tiger Woods? I think it would be fun,'' Couples said. ``I would love to run these guys into the ground during practice rounds.''

But asked which cup he would rather be captain, Couples didn't hesitate.

``Oh, the Ryder Cup,'' he said.

Love and Couples said they would like to see past Ryder Cup captains be in charge at the Presidents Cup, such as Lanny Wadkins, Tom Kite or Curtis Strange.

Nick Price had another suggestion for 2005. Since the Presidents Cup in South Africa ended in a draw, why not bring back Nicklaus and Player to settle the score in Virginia?

``That would be a nice gesture, but it's the first I've heard of it,'' Nicklaus said. ``I told the guys this is probably my swan song, but I also told Tim (Finchem), 'If you ever need me to do it again, I'm always available.' But I also don't want to shut anyone out. There's a lot of other guys who deserve to be captain.''

The PGA Tour probably will have to find one who has no chance of being captain at the Ryder Cup.

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