Kite 'to captain US in 1997'


Tom Kite, a former US Open champion, will be captain of the 1997 US Ryder Cup team. The USPGA will announce the new Ryder Cup captain on 29 November, but unidentified sources close to the USPGA are quoted in an American magazine, week, as saying Kite has already been chosen.

Kite, 45, has played in seven Ryder Cup teams, most recently the winning effort captained by Tom Watson at The Belfry in 1993. He was chosen from a list of candidates that included Larry Nelson, Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange.

The 32nd Ryder Cup will be held from 26 to 28 September 1997 at Valderrama Club in Sotogrande, Spain.

Greg Norman criticised the speed of the greens at Kingston Heath after struggling to stay in touch with the leaders in the first round of the Australian Open yesterday. The world No 1, chasing his first victory in his homeland since 1990, fired a level-par 72 to finish four shots off the pace.

"There were putts out there that I haven't seen anywhere in the world," Norman said afterwards, referring to the lightning speed of the greens.

Five Australians - Peter McWhinney, Lyndsay Stephen, David Bransdon, Rob Whitlock and Lucien Tinkler - share the lead on 68, four under par.