By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Did Tiger Woods’ dominance on the PGA TOUR impact his past performances in the Ryder Cup? David Feherty thinks so.
“He's been sort of trained and has always been so focused on being by himself and feeling that he's apart, that sense of I am better than them and I will win,” Feherty said during a conference call on Tuesday. “That doesn't lend itself to suddenly you've got somebody who's playing alongside you that you may have to depend on.”
Woods is just 13-14-2 in six appearances in the biennial matches. His 14 matches lost ranks as the fourth-most in U.S. team history.
“He was so focused on getting his own ball into the hole, and not just winning but winning in a crushing sort of a get-them-down-and-step-on-their-necks,” Feherty continued. “[It’s] that absolute killer instinct that having someone on board with you, I think it’s taken him a while to get used to that.”
In Woods’ defense, he has been better lately, going a combined 6-3 in his last two Ryder Cups in 2010 and 2006 (he missed 2008 due to injury). He’s also boasts a career 4-1-1 record in singles play with his last loss coming in 1997.
Feherty also believes Woods’ era of dominance on TOUR isn’t over.
“I don't think we've seen the end of that sort of golf,” Feherty said. “You've got to remember that we haven't seen him play well yet. [He’s No. 2 in the world] and he's done it with what seems like mediocre golf. When Tiger Woods plays well -- and he will play well again -- I would predict that he'll win by 8 or 10 again when he does.”
Woods has three victories this season, having ended a more than two-year winless drought with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard back in March.
But is Rory McIlroy, the current world No. 1, better than Woods? “At the minute I think so, yes,” Feherty added.
McIlroy and Woods are both playing in the Ryder Cup at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, where Feherty said the Americans have an advantage playing on home soil.
“I think it's a fascinating contest this week,” Feherty said. “We're seeing a changing of the guard with these new, younger faces coming up and continually contending it seems every week.
“This is as hard a Ryder Cup to pick as I can remember in recent years. It really is sort of a pick 'em -- you've got Brandt Snedeker, who has come into tremendous form, and it may well boil down to captain's picks and rookies and not so much the established players.”
And what will happen should Woods face McIlroy in Sunday’s singles play?
“I think it'll be a fascinating contest,” Feherty said. “Tiger has been very up front about what he thinks about Rory, and he would be the first to say that's probably the toughest match that he could imagine.
“But Tiger being Tiger, he would want Rory. Rory is the sort of kid that he wants to play the best.”