LONDON – U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin says Tiger Woods will be as strong a player as ever when he comes back from his marital turmoil and self-imposed break from golf.
“Tiger’s obviously a very strong-minded individual and I don’t think he will play any differently when he comes back,” Pavin said Friday during a visit to London. “He’s come back from injuries and setbacks and done fine.”
The Ryder Cup is next Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales. If Woods isn’t back to help the Americans defend the title, Pavin said it would weaken the team but won’t mean the Americans can’t win. Woods missed last year’s victory at Valhalla while recovering from knee surgery.
“To not have the best player in the world weakens the team,” Pavin said. “That does not mean we can’t win without him because obviously we did last time, but you always want the best player in the world.”
Pavin said Woods first has to resolve his marital problems.
“My main concern is for his family. My view of him as a golfer is not going to change at all and my view of him as a human being is not going to change either,” Pavin said. “Everybody makes mistakes. I’m not going to sit here in judgment.
“I just hope things work out for him and Elin. It’s obviously an emotional time for him, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Meanwhile, former British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington said he was “amazed” by Woods’ admission of infidelity. Harrington said he regularly stayed in the same hotels as Woods while at tournaments and felt sorry for him because he believed he led a quiet life.
“Most of us would go out to dinner at tournaments but Tiger couldn’t go out,” the Irishman told Friday’s editions of the Irish Independent. “Living in a goldfish bowl, there was so little he could do and I kind of felt sorry for him in that sense.”