Tiger Woods is aiming to win selection for this year’s Ryder Cup and wants to break new ground by becoming the USA’s first playing assistant captain. Source : By Mike Patterson
United States captain Davis Love III remains hopeful that Tiger Woods can make the American team to face Europe in the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September.
Woods has been named as one of Love’s vice-captains for the tournament – alongside Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker – but he could make history by also featuring as one of the 12 USA players if he proves his fitness.
The 14-time major winner has not competed since undergoing two procedures on his back in September and October last year.
However, he fuelled speculation about a comeback after registering for the US Open in June, before playing five holes with friend Mark O’Meara at Bluejack National Golf Club in Texas on Monday.
Love said: “[Tiger] keeps telling me I am going to be the first playing assistant captain. He wants to be on the team playing, not driving a golf cart, so I expect if he gets healthy he’s going to make a good run for it. I wouldn’t bet against Tiger Woods in anything.
“If he can get out and play 10 or 15 tournaments – which will be a lot after what he has been through – I think he can make the team, and we would love to have him.
“If everybody on the team says ‘we want Tiger Woods’, you don’t go without him. If everybody on the team says ‘I don’t know, I think he’s hurt’, you know the group will make the decision.
“But Tiger, I think at this point in his career, he knows what he is capable of. He will come and say ‘my back’s not ready, I’m not going to make it’, or he will come and say ‘I’m ready to go if you want me’.”
Former world No 1 Woods has played in seven Ryder Cups but the United States have won only one of those seven, while his individual record is mixed with only 13 wins in his 33 matches.
Despite that sketchy record, Love remains eager to have the 40-year-old on board at Hazeltine as either just a vice-captain or as a member of the team as the US look to win back the trophy from Europe.
He said: “Tiger Woods is the captain on the course. He can be a leader – we need Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods types.
“I want him on the team either way because he’s a great influence. He obviously brings a lot of incredible passion to our team and confidence.
“Tiger doesn’t have to be in the top eight or 10 in the points to make the team. He just needs to be playing and playing well and he will know – as an assistant captain I guess he will get a vote – if he’s ready.
“We will know if he’s ready and we’d love to have him because he brings an aura with him to our team, that we really need.”