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Ferguson: O’Meara has that left-out feeling

Doug Ferguson Associated Press

One month, the debate was Fred Couples getting elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame by the slimmest of margins. The next month, conversation shifted to whom the PGA of America would consider as the next Ryder Cup captain.

Both topics were a reminder to Mark O’Meara that despite 24 wins around the world, two major championships, five Ryder Cup teams and trophies collected from five continents, it’s easy to feel left out.

“Hey, things are good in my life,” O’Meara said Tuesday from River Oaks Country Club in Houston, where he occasionally puts the claret jug and trophies from the Masters and U.S. Amateur on display for members. “I’m blessed to have played this game for a long time, and I’m still playing. If someday they want to call me, that’s great.”

A phone call from whom? And about what?

Any chance to be Ryder Cup captain has come and gone. O’Meara qualified for five teams from 1985 to 1999 and seemed to be a logical choice, especially after Payne Stewart’s death, to be captain in 2006 when the matches went to Ireland. He met with PGA officials at Kiawah Island in 2004 to let them know how much he was interested. The PGA of America instead chose Tom Lehman.

“To be honest, I was a little disappointed I didn’t even get considered,” O’Meara said.

If not the Ryder Cup, perhaps O’Meara could be a Presidents Cup captain.

Or not.

Couples was appointed U.S. captain for 2009 at Harding Park. A short time later, O’Meara said he called PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem about being the next Presidents Cup captain at Royal Melbourne.

“I said, ‘Listen, Tim, I don’t know where you stand or who the selection committee is, but I’d love to do it,’ ” O’Meara said. “It was in Australia. I had won the Australian Masters. It was perfect timing for me. But he never called me back.”

Couples and Greg Norman were chosen to repeat as captains in 2011, and Couples was selected to return as captain for a third straight time next year at Muirfield Village.

Funny that Couples is always where O’Meara wants to be, the latest blow coming last month when he was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Couples received 51 percent of the vote, the lowest on the PGA Tour ballot. O’Meara, with 16 wins and two majors, was fourth at 36 percent.

“I flipped on the TV and I saw Fred,” O’Meara said. “No disrespect at all to Fred Couples, who has had a lovely career. I understand that he won two TPCs, the Masters. But I won more PGA Tour events, more majors. I won a U.S. Amateur.

“I mention this to Bernhard Langer and he said, ‘You’re going to get in.’ Is it when I stop playing? When I’m 6 feet under. When there’s no one left to put in?”

About all O’Meara can do is wait for the next election and hope his record is not overlooked again.

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