Woods to be Ryder Cup player and not vice-captain after second place at the PGA Championship
Tiger Woods’ incredible comeback has been well-documented over the past few months as the 14-time major champion has risen from the surgery table and back to the summit of world golf. One could be forgiven for saying that they’ve heard enough of it but when broken down and put into numbers, it does make for staggering reading.
In the last nine months, Woods has moved up 1,173 places from 1,199th in the world to his current position of 26th in the world rankings. Second place at the PGA Championship was enough for Woods to move into the world’s top 30 for the first time since December 2014 and those in front of him will be looking over their shoulders as the Big Cat gathers more speed.
It surely it just a matter of time before the 42-year-old gets back to world number one and anyone who disputes that only has to look back on his last nine months to realise that Woods is completely healed and on the warpath once again.
I can’t thank the fans in St. Louis enough for packing the course all week and for their enthusiasm and support. It meant so much to me. pic.twitter.com/jQSkSCSYdM
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 13, 2018
The PGA Championship also saw former world number one and Aussie Adam Scott turn back the clock and at one stage it looked like Scott would add another major to his collection. A bogey on the last saw Scott drop to third behind Woods and that has now given American Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk a lot to think about.
Furky chose Woods as a vice-captain in February this year when he was lingering north of 1000 in the official world golf rankings. There was no way that Furyk or anyone for that matter would have been able to predict the speed of Woods’ comeback and now America’s captain has a decision to make.
When asked after the PGA Championship about Woods’ inclusion Furyk was guarded and by no means indicated that he would select Woods after he came up agonizingly close to automatically qualifying by finishing 11th, three places off the top eight who qualify automatically. That seems to be the official line but there are whispers that Furyk will release Woods from vice-captain duties and make him one of his four captain’s picks.
Furyk’s selection headache is a very real one though and it looks like he will give into the noise surrounding Woods and on current form that looks the logical thing to do but historically Woods has never shone at the Ryder Cup. If America are to overcome the odds and win in Europe for the first time in 25 years they will need everything to go their way despite being the favourites at 10/11 in golf betting. In many ways, Furyk is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t and he will be hoping this doesn’t derail the preparations of the Americans.
It’s a beautiful day at Le Golf National.
— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) July 15, 2018
There’s no question about it, Woods has done enough to secure a captain’s pick and it looks for all money that he will be on the team which is quite unbelievable given he was over 100/1 to be on the team at the start of the year.
When considering the strength of the two teams it looks increasingly likely that the contest will be decided by fine margins with the Ryder Cup 2018 set for a photo finish. With that in mind, you get the feeling that Woods’ could be the player to decide the outcome as he comes in with a substandard match play record. There can be no places for passengers and any team carrying them will lose.