POTOMAC -- Time was when a United States victory in th Ryder Cup, the biennial golf event matching American and European professionals, was no big deal.
From 1947 to 1983, the U.S. team had an 18-1 victory margin. Then, the rules were changed to permit players from continental Europe to be eligible for the British team. The resulting European teams have picked up two narrow wins and a tie in the past three competitions.
The Ryder Cup has become important, to the point where the matches will get 21 1/2 hours of television coverage, Sept. 26-29, at Kiawah Island, S.C.
In the past, the position of non-playing captain often was a ceremonial appointment, but for its next challenge, the PGA of America has a working captain in Dave Stockton.
Stockton is getting a firsthand look at potential members (a point system, based on tournament play from Jan. 1 to the PGA Championship in August, will account for 10 of the 12 members).
"Each week, I'm looking at a tournament's top 10, rooting for guys to jump up and play well," Stockton said during the Kemper Open at TPC-Avenel.
"One thing is certain -- we will have a more veteran team, with players like Lanny Wadkins and Hale Irwin, and they will be the spark for a more motivated team. Lanny is already talking about strategy."
Possible wild-card choices are already on the minds of a lot of people. Around the time of the Masters and PGA Seniors, the name most often heard was Jack Nicklaus.
* Ted Schulz claimed his first course record when he fired 30-3363 in the third round yesterday.
It vaulted him from 3-under to 11-under, but got him no better than a share of a nine-way tie at 202.
Schulz's round included eight birdies, only one from beyond 15 feet, with one stretch, beginning at No. 5, of five in a row.
"I was relaxed and playing well, but it is rare for me to get a streak like that," he said. "The brain usually stops them; at least, that's what happened to me. I got to a point where I was mechanical and not thinking over the putts."
He, and playing partner Morris Hatalsky, saw the weather front moving in as they were on the 18th tee, so they quickly got off their tee shots.
"By the time we got to the green, it was pouring," Schulz said "We wanted to finish, but I did take some time to fix ball marks, walk around and get my composure -- you can really lose your rhythm in the rain -- and then took two putts from 30 feet and got out of there."
Before yesterday, 11 players had shared the record of 64. Then in that third round alone, there were six.
* It was a situation Brandel Chamblee of Edmond, Okla., had not been in before. With play in twosomes, and 79 players making the Kemper Open cut, he turned out to be the odd number.
He and his caddie made the 8:38 a.m. tee time and, as is the case with each pairing, were accompanied by a scorer. The scorer is unofficial, however, so there was a delay after Chamblee had whipped it around in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 67 shots for a 54-hole total of 6-under-par 207.
There was a call for an official, and when Glenn Tait appeared, Chamblee asked, "Mr. Tait, who signs my card?" Tait promptly took care of it.
"We always joked about it, but it had never happened to me before," Chamblee, 28, said. "It's about the same, although when you are with someone, you sometimes get a better feel for the play.
"This way, I was first up on every par-3, and away every time on the greens."
He made four birdies in a row on the front nine, turning in a 5-under 31, then had two bogeys and a birdie coming home.
NOTES: Schulz's 63 was followed by 64s from a pair of former winners, Stan Utley, a 3-year pro, and Jim Gallagher Jr., an 8-year pro. The work got each of them to 11-under-par 202. Utley had 9 birdies and 2 bogeys, Gallagher had 7 birdies. . . . Gallagher's wife, Cissye, an LPGA Tour player, who had been cleared to play in March after shoulder surgery, has put her career on hold after finding out last week she was pregnant. . . . Mark Brooks made a double-eagle 2 at the 479-yard par-5 sixth hole, hitting a 6-iron second shot 194 yards.