Should Couples pick Tiger for Presidents Cup?

Should Couples pick Tiger for Presidents Cup?


Should Couples pick Tiger for Presidents Cup?

Should Tiger Woods be part of the U.S. Presidents Cup team? The answer is more hazy now, after captain Fred Couples said Woods needed to play more than just the Australian Open the week before the Nov. 17-20 matches at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.


Our panel of experts weighs in on whether Woods should make the team as one of two captain’s picks:

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YES, BUT . . . : Just before U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples announces his two wild-card picks Sept. 26, he should get an honest evaluation from Tiger Woods on the state of Woods’ game. Then he should weigh that knowledge and Woods’ value to the team against other potential candidates. Then he should make an informed decision.

There’s no sense in making the call now when Couples can wait more than five weeks and size things up once he knows the 10 automatic qualifiers. And there’s no reason a finally-healthy Woods shouldn’t have his game fit for public view in three months.

If I must vote now, I’d say yes, pick him and pair him with Steve Stricker.

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YES: Of course you pick him. The Presidents Cup, first and foremost, is a show; it’s entertainment; it’s about getting people to watch and talk.

Do Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson and Webb Simpson – just to name three who are outside the top 10 – deserve it more? Absolutely. But will they get people in America to watch at all hours of the evening and early morning?

Not a chance, and if there’s one thing this event needs, it’s an audience.

If Tiger plays a fall event, fine. If not, he’s already signed on for the Aussie Open, so that counts. And if he plays poorly and contributes to a U.S. loss? Not such a bad thing, because this event needs an International Team victory, and oh, how his presence would have generated awareness.

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YES: Of course Tiger should be on the Presidents Cup team. When compiling the 12 best American players, surely a spot can be reserved for a guy with 71 PGA Tour wins, including 14 majors. His current form is spotty, yes, but play at Royal Melbourne doesn’t commence until Nov. 17. That’s three months from now, and there is little chance Tiger still will be hitting it all over the map by then. Simple as this: If he wants to play, he’s on the team.

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NO: The U.S. soccer team has several objectives when it plays “friendly” matches. Winning is important, of course. But these matches also are opportunities for young talents to gain international experience. The Presidents Cup is nothing more than a glorified friendly. And this is why Tiger Woods should not be picked for this year’s team.

Let’s use this opportunity to groom potential players for the 2012 Ryder Cup. Fred Couples should use his selections to give a first taste of international competition to Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore or other twentysomethings. The experience would be invaluable should they be selected for the one international competition that does matter – and that we can’t seem to win – the Ryder Cup.

Yes, I know the Ryder and Presidents cups are run by different organizations and therefore there’s no collaborative spirit between the two events. But let’s call on the PGA Tour and PGA of America to put country first!

The fact that we’re even discussing Tiger Woods’ potential Presidents Cup selection illustrates an ongoing and problematic theme in golf. There’s always an eagerness to cater to the struggling star at the expense of the developing talent. Let’s do things differently, just this once.

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YES: It became very clear Thursday morning at the PGA Championship that Tiger Woods truly is the Jekyl & Hyde of professional golf. This is a player who can go from 3 under through five holes to 10 over in the remaining 13 – not exactly the type of guy you’d want on your team. That said, Fred Couples has no choice but to pick Woods, and will do so. Woods is a lightning rod, to be sure, but he is a good friend of Couples’, and a case can be made by the U.S. captain that Woods will be good for the team. Going forward, Woods is benefitting from his past reputation, not his current ability, which is what Couples sees.

Lastly, Couples almost promised the spot to Woods in his news conference at the Memorial Tournament. To go back know might derail the U.S. team’s chances in Australia.


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