Ferguson On Sutton

sutton.jpgAP's Doug Ferguson catches up with Hal Sutton, who has pretty much disappeared since Captaining the Ryder Cup team in 2002 2004.

Noting that "for all he has done in golf - a career that began by beating Jack Nicklaus at the PGA in 1983 and culminated with a victory over Woods at The Players Championship in 2000," it seems Sutton is sadly going to be remembered for the Ryder Cup loss. Sutton, thankfully has moved on with a children's hospital project and new golf course project.

When he isn't at the hospital, Sutton can be found at Boot Ranch, the opulent golf club he is building in the Hill Country of Texas, a rugged piece of nature about 60 miles north of San Antonio and 60 miles west of Austin.

Sutton has spared no expense. The name plates on the lockers are made of sterling silver. The benches are covered with hides of ostrich, alligator and longhorn. Each member - former President Bush among them - gets customized boots to be worn on property, much like members in their green jackets at Augusta National.

Gulp. Anyway...on the Ryder Cup:

"I'll look back on it as a positive experience," he said. "I think it's the greatest marketing event in the world. It's a big to-do. And if somebody thinks you did something wrong, well, that's why it's a big to-do. If somebody badmouths something I did, if in some people's minute opinion they think putting Tiger and Phil together was a mistake ..."

His voice grew loud, thick, determined, just as it was that Thursday before the matches when he announced Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson would be partners for the first time.

They lost both matches, setting the tone for a European rout.

"Here's the truth," Sutton continued. "Do you think they were going to get through their whole career on the same team and somebody wasn't going to put them together? You think the world wanted to see it? Absolutely! I wanted to see it. You wanted to see it. You had your opinion whether it would work, whether I was right or I was not. And it's easy to talk about now."

"There's a feeling I disappeared because I was embarrassed by what happened?" Sutton asked.

"Embarrassment has never driven me off. You're not trying if you haven't failed. I'm not afraid to fail, and I don't consider that a failure. I didn't hit a single drive or a hit a single putt all week. At the end of the day, failure is about whether the ball goes in the hole when it comes to golf."