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Strange has lived through that kind of gossip.
He had won the U.S. Open at Oak Hill and was playing well when Lanny Wadkins picked him 1995, even though he was down the list.
"There was this argument about a good ol' boy network, a couple of guys from Virginia," Strange said. "The truth is, I never had dinner with Lanny once in my life except at the Ryder Cup, and even then I didn't want to have dinner with him."
Even so, Strange said he felt more pressure than usual on the final day because he knew people questioned the pick, and because he had lost both his foursomes matches.
That won't be the case for any of these picks. Mahan, while deeply disappointed, couldn't find anything wrong with Love taking Snedeker and Johnson.
"Brandt and Dustin just outplayed me at the end of the day," he said. "I just didn't play good enough. And that's OK. It's OK to get beat by somebody. That's part of golf."
What intrigued Strange about the picks Tuesday was how Love said he was looking for good putters and to "plug holes." Strange made what some considered a curious selection in 2001 when he took Scott Verplank, the first captain's pick to have never played in the Ryder Cup. Strange wanted someone for foursomes, and few players combined accuracy off the tee and great putting better than Verplank.
He went 2-1. His only loss was when he and Scott Hoch lost on the 18th hole to Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer, one of Europe's strongest teams which lost only one out of the seven matches they played.
Azinger was No. 22 in the standings when he was picked in 2001, and it didn't help that the matches were postponed one year by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
By the time the Ryder Cup rolled around one year later, he was out of form. He and Woods lost the opening match, and Azinger didn't play again until singles. He was in the eighth spot, where the Ryder Cup is often decided, and dreading it.
Azinger managed -- barely -- by holing a bunker shot on the 18th to earn a halve against Niclas Fasth and at least delay Europe's celebration.
"I made a 10-footer on the 17th with Europe around the green ready to pop the cork," he said. "I miss it and they win. I still think it's the greatest putt I ever made."
His advice to Love would be to not put a captain's pick anywhere around No. 8 through No. 11 in the Sunday lineup unless "you believe in your heart" he can handle it.
Based on this year's team, that shouldn't be a problem.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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