Fit and feisty: Azinger is backing US stars to sparkle this week
21:30 GMT, 15 July 2012
Captain America: Paul Azinger hoists the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in 2008
Paul Azinger has aspirations that might see him in Washington one day, representing the state of Florida and giving speeches filled with the sort of passion that made him such an inspiring Ryder Cup captain.
For now, however, politics can wait.
It's not the state of the nation that's exercising him but the state of US golf, where the green shoots of recovery have blossomed.
'What we are seeing are a group of young Americans who grew up watching Tiger Woods and have taken on board that different mindset that separated him from everyone else,' said Azinger.
'They're physically fit, feisty, and they're going to keep on winning majors. In the last two Ryder Cups the US have been clear underdogs but this time I'd give them the edge and make them favourites in Chicago. They will have home-field advantage and they will be hard to beat.'
Who better than Captain America to ask about this stunning US revival, one that has seen them dominate the leading prizes over the past 11 months
This time last year, Darren Clarke's Open victory extended the major-less US sequence to six, the longest in history.
Since then, a trio of bright young things have won the last three and Tiger is appearing more like his old self by the minute.
'What I like about players such as Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson is they don't play golf by numbers and that's why the public has taken to them as well,' said Azinger, who will be at The Open for ESPN.
'As for Tiger, ever since I first saw him I've expected only greatness and that greatness will continue.
'The longer he's healthy the more convinced I become that he will beat Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors.'
Azinger doesn't view the game purely through Stars and Stripes-tinted spectacles.
He's full of praise for the likes of Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, for instance. Ask him if he thinks that, after this week, Americans will hold all four majors for the first time since the 2004 Masters and, for once, he hedges his bets.
'After seeing 15 different players from all over the world win the last 15 different majors, you will excuse me if my crystal ball is a little cloudy,' he said.
'I don't know how you pick a winner any more. '
Patriot games: Azinger waves the stars and stripes after their Ryder Cup victory
It seems almost insulting to say I like this guy or that one.
It was certainly a lot easier when Tiger was winning all the time! 'What we can say is that no-one will fluke their way round Lytham and win. It's a hard golf course with lots of cross-winds and lots of bunkers.
'Look back through history and Lytham winners generally had great short games, so don't be surprised if a grinder wins.'
This Open marks the 25th anniversary of Azinger's first visit to these shores and what turned out to be a golden opportunity to win. Leading Nick Faldo at Muirfield by one stroke with two to play, he finished bogey, bogey to lose by one.
'It was a great experience but also my greatest heartache in golf,' said Azinger.
'After that I thought I would have contended more often but it wasn't to be, that was my best chance.'
He did eventually get his name on a major title, beating Greg Norman in a play-off to win the 1993 US PGA .
He was at the height of his career, only to be diagnosed with lymphoma in his right shoulder just weeks later.
In his pomp: Azinger lines up a putt
Azinger fought his cancer and won, but was never the same player again, and had to wait until becoming 2008 Ryder Cup captain to return to the spotlight.
The methods he used to mastermind America's only win of the 21st century – splitting his team into three 'pods' of four, as they do in Navy SEAL training and encouraging them to bond – made his book not only a sporting bestseller but also in the mainstream as well.
'I didn't do it from a military viewpoint but with the idea the players would grow as people,' said Azinger, the son of a US Air Force navigator.
'My thinking was to say things that would make Nick Faldo (his opposite number as captain) underestimate me while all along we had this unbelievable plan, and I guess it worked out.
'The whole experience was amazing. I remember our kids were coming to the end of home schooling and we had a room set aside for that. Well, I went away on a three-week trip and when I came home my wife had redecorated it completely in Ryder Cup stuff. “What if we lose” I asked her. “Don't you think you're putting pressure on me”. Now it's a lovely Ryder Cup room, filled with happy memories.'
Follow Azinger on Twitter and you will see he's as interested in politics these days as he is in golf.
Now 52, he will give consideration to political office before the end of his sixth decade.
'I wouldn't mind representing Florida in some capacity,' he said.
If he does, expect him to do it the way he captained America's Ryder Cup team, surrounding himself with people he likes and trusts.
And with passion. With Azinger, there's always passion.
ESPN will be showing daily highlights of The Open, plus extensive coverage via ESPN.co.uk, with reports, live scores, comment and galleries.