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Sutton chooses Jones and Burke as assistants

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton announced on Tuesday that 1996 U.S. Open winner Steve Jones and two-time major winner Jackie Burke Jr would serve as assistant captains for this year's squad.

Sutton, who opens his 2004 season at this week's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, went to both ends of the spectrum in choosing his assistants for a squad that will seek to reclaim the cup in September at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield, Michigan.

"I think both are qualified for different reasons," Sutton said.

"Both are good friends and I think they are going to make great assistant captains."

Burke twice captained the United States squad, as a playing captain in a 7.5-4.5 loss at Lindrick Golf Club in 1957 and again in a 19-13 win at Muirfield in Scotland in 1973.

As a player, Burke had a 7-1-0 record in five Ryder Cup appearances.

"I think there's nobody in the game more knowledgeable than Jackie Burke," Sutton said of Burke, who turns 81 on January 29.

"I think Jackie is going to really add a dimension of fire to the game. I think he's really a fierce competitor, even at his age."

Steve Jones has never played in a Ryder Cup, but his biggest advantage to Sutton and the American squad may be his only major win, which was at Oakland Hills.

"Steve and I are contemporaries," Sutton said.

"We went through the same Tour School together. We have been friends for a long, long time. He's got a great personality. He's a neat guy. He won the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills."

Sutton said he would play a full schedule in 2004 while evaluating the potential team and developing a mentality that he hoped would bring the cup back to the United States.

"We are 3-5-1 the last few times and everybody talks about us being favoured on paper and all that sort of stuff," Sutton said.

"You know, we've got to prove that on green grass."

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