Tiger Woods said yesterday that he would definitely get a pick for the Ryder Cup if he was in captain Tom Watson’s shoes. The great ones never lack self-belief, do they?
Never mind that Woods had just finished with his worst 72-hole score in a major, taking 24 more shots than he delivered in securing victory at the 2006 Open; he was even five strokes worse than 64-year-old Watson.
Perhaps it is as well for America’s Ryder Cup hopes at Gleneagles in September that Watson the wise is looking for something a little more substantial than blind faith.
‘Everyone thinks I am going to pick Tiger automatically but I can assure you that is not the case,’ said Watson.
‘I’ve said all along I’ll pick Tiger if he’s healthy and playing well. He’s looking like he’s playing without pain, which is good, but what I was also hoping for from this week was that he would make some money and get in the FedEx Cup. How is he doing today? Is he under par?’
Alas, he was not, as he followed up his triple bogey at the seventh on Saturday with a double on his way to a three-over-par 75, a dismal score on a day when, in Watson’s words, ‘the course was there for the taking’.
Watson is desperate for Woods to play in the FedEx Cup is as the four play-off events that make up that competition are the principal tournaments leading up to the Ryder Cup. The top 125 contest the first one and Woods is currently outside the top 200. His poor finish here will have done little to improve his placing. Woods now has two events left to clamber up the rankings. The good news for Watson is that these two events are the Bridgestone Invitational in 10 days at a Firestone course where he is a serial winner, followed by the USPGA Championship over the same venue at Valhalla where he won in 2000.
Asked if he would consider playing in Europe if he didn’t make the FedEx, Woods said: ‘I’ve still got two events to go and I’m planning to be there.’
Watson acknowledged: ‘It would be up to him if he played in Europe. But it would certainly make it tougher for me to pick him if he is not playing.’
The pressure is on in Tiger’s next two events.
‘I just made way too many mistakes to compete,’ said Woods. ‘What was it, two triples and three doubles? But the good news is I got some game time and I am still building and getting stronger all the time. It’s encouraging in terms of getting over the injury but there’s obviously an awful lot to work on.’ Not much time, either. His next two events will surely decide his Ryder Cup fate. – Daily Mail