Originally created 09/30/03

Langer committed to be captain, not player



BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- European captain Bernhard Langer will consider playing in next year's Ryder Cup only if he finishes near the top of the standings.

Langer said earlier this month he would give up the captaincy if he made the 2004 team and that Europe deserved to have its 12 best players when it tries to retain the Ryder Cup next year at Oakland Hills.

During a news conference Monday with U.S. captain Hal Sutton, the two-time Masters champion changed his tune.

"I've thought about it even more the last few weeks," Langer said. "If I should play extremely well and qualified as No. 1 or No. 2, I would give it consideration. But I don't think I will. I'm not playing well enough. I'm very committed as captain. I'm working hard to do the right things. I can't see myself stepping down."

Nick Faldo was among those who criticized Langer for thinking about giving up the captaincy, saying a change in leadership so close to the matches would throw the European team into chaos.

"When does he change his mind - after the shirts have been selected or before?" Faldo cracked.

Langer declined to say how high he would have to finish in the European standings to consider playing, only that he intentions are to be the captain.