Tiger may pick himself for Presidents Cup
December 06, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods' top shots of 2018
Tiger Woods has not ruled out picking himself as a playing captain for next year’s Presidents Cup in Australia should he fail to automatically qualify.
Woods was named captain of the U.S. Team over eight months ago for the biennial event against the Internationals that will be held on December 12-15, 2019 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
At the time he was in the early stages of a comeback from back fusion surgery.
Since then he has elevated his game back to winning form, taking out the TOUR Championship for an 80th career PGA TOUR title, and playing well enough to throw up the possibility he could join Hale Irwin (1994) as just the second playing captain in Presidents Cup history.
“I'm part of the team either way, okay,” Woods said during a reconnaissance mission to Royal Melbourne this week.
“I want to compete. I want to play. Being a vice captain the last couple years, you realize you really don't control the play. You have to sit back and watch. And as a player and as a competitor, you want to always be in control and be able to compete and play.”
But with just eight spots on the roster going to automatic qualifiers – and with Woods currently sitting 16th on the list – a playing position could hinge on one of four captains’ picks.
Woods declared the decision would be one for him to mull over with his assistant captains and most importantly the eight automatically qualified players but he had no aversion to being part of that conversation should form warrant it.
Given a new rule stating players only need to play one session prior to singles, Woods could effectively pick himself, and hide himself, if he desired.
“After the TOUR Championship, we'll have our top eight guys, and hopefully I'll be part of the top eight. If not, then myself and my vice captains are going to have to figure out - as well as the other top eight players - who are the next four guys that will be best served to be part of this team, to come down here and compete,” he said.
“I'm going to have to defer a lot of information to my vice captains and get a lot of their opinions and also my team, whether or not I can play and do both roles.”
Woods envisages Royal Melbourne will play much like it did in previous Presidents Cups held at the venue in 1998 and 2011.
The 1998 event remains the only outright win the International team has claimed.Each individual Cup, each individual team, has their own uniqueness and their own character, and that's what's fun about being a part of these teams, that you're building relationships that you never thought you would have, and relationships that last a lifetime.
“The way the golf course is set up and the way it's played, it's very similar to what we face at an Open Championship, so I think guys who play The Open Championship venues well are going to be successful here at Royal,” the three-time Open Championship winner said.
“It is one of the greatest golf courses in all of the world. The layout is fantastic. It's very tough. It's tricky. They've lengthened a couple of the holes. But nothing major. Normally over the course of time, a lot of golf courses get modernized, get lengthened, change different angles, add bunkers, whatever it may be, but they haven't done that at Royal. It's the same golf course.”
Making the team without the need for a pick could be a tough ask for Woods given he has already acknowledged a reduced schedule is in his future.
Woods finished his 2018 playing commitments last week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last week and the soon to be 43-year-old admitted his 19 events was a toll he was unable to handle effectively.
“I won’t be playing as much as I did last year. … That was just too much for my body to handle and I was not physically prepared for it,” Woods said.
“I hadn’t trained for that, so we’re going to make some adjustments for next year.”
Either way Woods hoped he would be able to put a stamp on his team and believes there will be no hangover or fallout from the U.S. loss in the Ryder Cup this year where Woods was 0-4.
“This is a totally different team, totally different players,” he said.
“We could have a different core of guys. Obviously we have a lot of guys in their 20s that have made the last couple teams but you just never know.
“Each individual Cup, each individual team, has their own uniqueness and their own character, and that's what's fun about being a part of these teams, that you're building relationships that you never thought you would have, and relationships that last a lifetime.”