Europeans are cautious

SUN MEDIA NEWS SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

LONDON -- A U.S. team without Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup could be just as dangerous if it uses his absence as motivation, Europe captain Nick Faldo said.

"On the one side, it could be a loss," Faldo said. "But on the other, they know that they don't have the option to bank on Tiger this year, and I'm sure they'll all pull together because of that."

Europe has defeated the U.S. the last three times, including nine-point margins in 2004 and 2006. The Ryder Cup will be played from Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla.

Woods, who said on Wednesday he will have season-ending surgery on his left knee, has not missed a match since he first played in the Ryder Cup in 1997 at Valderrama. He has a 10-2-13 record, including 3-1-1 in singles.

"I don't think it's a given that it improves our chances," Faldo said. "The best player in the world over 18 holes in match play can be very vulnerable. Players raise their game in that kind of situation. Ultimately, we'll just have to wait and see. And in the meantime, let's hope that Tiger makes a swift recovery."

CINK MASTERS TRAVELERS

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Stewart Cink moved to the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard yesterday, making two long eagle putts in a 6-under 64 that left him a stroke ahead of defending champion Hunter Mahan and two others. Cink, the 1997 winner at TPC River Highlands, is seeking his first victory of the season after six top-10 finishes.

"I hope it's just a matter of time," Cink said. "I hope it's a matter of about two days."

THEY'RE ALL CHASING PRESSEL

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Morgan Pressel, intensifying her practice routines as she moves beyond her teens, shot a 7-under 65 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen midway through the Wegmans LPGA.

"You always have to be working ... harder because otherwise you are going to be passed pretty quickly out here," Pressel said after a second bogey-free round broke open a leaderboard logjam and got her to 10-under 134.

Defending champ Lorena Ochoa shot 70 to drop into a tie for 17th at 2 under. Annika Sorenstam (72) sits 1 over and narrowly avoided being cut.

KITE GETS A COURSE RECORD

CONCORD, Mass. -- Tom Kite matched the course record with a 9-under 63 yesterday to take the first-round lead in the Bank of America Championship.


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