American Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger teased opposite number Nick Faldo today over the resignation of his assistant Paul McGinley.
The two came together in Valhalla, the venue for next September’s match, for a “year to go” press conference.
And Azinger wasted no time joking that Faldo’s assistants were “dropping like flies”.
McGinley stood down last month saying he wanted to concentrate on trying to play his way into the side again, although there were reports that it followed his non-selection for the Britain and Ireland Seve Trophy team Faldo was leading in Ireland.
Former captain Sam Torrance criticised Faldo for asking McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal, another member of the victorious 2006 line-up, to serve as his deputies, claiming it was an “insult” to them.
And Torrance also then joined three-time captain Bernard Gallacher in saying Faldo was wrong to speak out about Colin Montgomerie following the Seve Trophy.
Faldo stated two weeks ago that it was “disappointing” Montgomerie missed three team meetings and added: “Monty’s a tough one. He was the only one whose emotions I had to deal with.”
Azinger did not miss the opportunity to jump in again when that subject cropped up, telling the reporter on a crackly phone line: “Ask it again – I want to here the answers.”
When Faldo gave a blunt “no fall-out” reply to the question of what reaction his words had caused, Azinger added: “That’s a horrible answer”.
Faldo, yet to name a replacement for McGinley, knows that Azinger has two former captains – Ray Floyd and Dave Stockton – helping him try to win the cup back after two record nine-point defeats and three losses in a row.
“I am trying to surround myself with the right people, people who can help me,” said Azinger. “I’m not looking for baby-sitters, I want assistants who can keep me from making mistakes.”