Tiger non-committal on return as Presidents Cup captain
February 11, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods reflects on watching tournaments at Riviera as a kid
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Ernie Els already has stated that he has no plans to return as a Presidents Cup captain in 2021. Tiger Woods is not ready to make a similar declaration, but the winning U.S. captain at Royal Melbourne in December acknowledged the challenges that led to Els’ decision.
Tiger’s team rallied during Sunday Singles to beat Els’ International Team by two points, increasing the Americans’ record to 11-1-1 in the biennial event. Unlike Els, Woods juggled captain and playing duties, winning all three of his matches during the week.
“I talked to Ernie when we were boarding the airplane leaving Melbourne,” Woods said Tuesday prior to this week’s The Genesis Invitational. “He was obviously devastated, and he put everything he had into that two-year window and tried to change the fortunes of the International Team – rebranded the entire side and did some things that’s never been done before on either team.
“He has set a standard that going forward that they now have plan … It was tough to see him, you know, not want to be part of it in that way.
“I’m struggling with the same issues because … as an American, we have two Cups that we’re involved in, not just every other year [like] the Internationals and European team. So the responsibilities on an American are a little bit more.”
Els revealed in a story last week by the Morning Read that he would not be the International Team captain at next year’s Presidents Cup, to be held Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021, at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“That’s as good as I can do,” Els told the Morning Read. “I gave it all. This is another change I wanted to make in our team. I get one opportunity, win or lose. You don’t get a second chance. … There is so much of me that wants to do it, but I know the hardest thing is to step away,”
PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan told the outlet that “Ernie did an amazing job, poured his heart and soul into the event. As he had an opportunity to think about how much he put into it and how much it took out of him and the system he put in place, it was clear he wanted to move the system forward, and that meant having someone else in position to captain, which was one of his vice captains from Melbourne.”
Els’ four vice captains at Royal Melbourne were Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, Mike Weir of Canada, Trevor Immelman of South Africa and K.J. Choi of Korea.
Even if Woods decides not to pursue a second stint as the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, his presence may still be felt at Quail Hollow. Playing as a captain’s pick at Royal Melbourne, Woods was the Americans’ top performer, setting the tone on Sunday in the opening Singles match by beating the Internationals’ hottest player, Abraham Ancer, 3 and 2.
Tiger Woods highlights from Sunday Singles match at Presidents Cup
In addition, Woods won a Four-Balls match and a Foursomes match with partner Justin Thomas. As Woods joked Tuesday when asked about Thomas: “I carried his ass in Australia.” Thomas and Steve Stricker will be Woods’ playing partners for the first two rounds this week at Riviera.
Woods will be 45 years old at the next Presidents Cup. That would make him two years younger than Phil Mickelson when Mickelson played in his last Presidents Cup in 2017. Mickelson went 3-0-1 that week at Liberty National as one of the top U.S. point producers.
The key for Woods as a player, of course, will be how well his body can hold up. He replied with a funny response Tuesday when asked which body movement causes him the most inconsistency in his swing.
“Bending, twisting, turning moving,” Woods replied. “Other than that, I’m all good.”