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Brett Wetterich goes from Q-School to Ryder Cup

Brett Wetterich will be on the plane Sunday night to Ireland with the rest of the Ryder Cup team, but first he has to take care of some business.

Like meeting Tiger Woods for the first time.

And perhaps getting some pointers on match play.

None of the Americans on this team are more unknown than Wetterich, who might be the first player to go from Q-school to making the Ryder Cup team in the same year.

"Thank God for the new points system," he said Tuesday at the Bridgestone Invitational. "I didn't have many points last year. I had a great year, and it worked out good for me."

Know this about Wetterich -- he can hit it a mile and make birdies.

Wetterich is fourth on the PGA Tour in driving distance at 308.2 yards, and has decent accuracy for such power. Perhaps more importantly, he is third in making birdies, which should come in handy at The K Club.

The new points system emphasized this year's performance, and Wetterich earned his spot. He was fourth in New Orleans, won the Byron Nelson Championship and tied for second at Memorial.

He was 10th in the standings going to the PGA Championship, but two quadruple bogeys knocked him from the top of the leaderboard to a 76 in the first round, and he missed the cut. Wetterich spent Sunday watching the final round, paying close attention to Tim Herron, Steve Stricker and Davis Love III, the only players who had a remote chance of catching him.

"I was a little nervous," he said. "But there's nothing you can do. I played bad and I didn't do my part, so it wasn't up to me what was going to happen."

Wetterich says he has never met Woods, the No. 1 player in the world, although he has passed by him in the locker room. It was surprising that he never played match play, even in the U.S. Junior Amateur or U.S. Amateur.

"Nope," he said. "I never qualified for match play. But I think I'll be good at it. I'll have some bad holes, but I usually make my share of birdies."

Told that American teammate Vaughn Taylor also has not experienced match play, Wetterich smiled.

"I like Vaughn," he said.

August 23, 2006


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