Presidents Cup captain's picks: What will Tiger Woods do?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Tiger Woods speaks next to the Presidents Cup during a Presidents Cup media opportunity at the Yarra Promenade on December 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. The Presidents Cup 2019 will be held on December 9-15, 2019, when it returns to the prestigious Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images) Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Presidents Cup captain's picks: What will Tiger Woods do?

2019 Presidents Cup

Presidents Cup captain's picks: What will Tiger Woods do?

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I am Tiger Woods.

At least for this exercise, I will play off the famous Nike commercial and make the four captain’s picks bestowed to me for the upcoming Presidents Cup in Australia.

For weeks, I have spoken to the stress involved in filling out the team that will face the Internationals Dec. 12-15 at Royal Melbourne. So many options, so few selections. And I’ve been questioned hundreds of times if I’d tab myself, with many thinking TV execs and the PGA Tour commissioner were pushing me to do just that to spike interest and lure viewers.

All the while, critics pointed to my dismal summer when I played like my damaged left knee and back and neck felt, and they said I couldn’t possibly waste a pick on myself.

Tiger Woods

Well, that’s all behind me. Turns out this wasn’t as difficult as once thought. Thanks to me. I locked up one of the picks I’ll make Thursday with my record-tying 82nd PGA Tour title at the recent Zozo Championship in Japan. Coupled with my Masters victory in April and seeing as I am, well, Tiger Woods, there’s no way I’m not going to be a playing captain. I’m No. 6 in the world.

Seriously, there would be a mutiny among the Stars & Stripes if I don’t pick myself.

Gary Woodland

Gary Woodland is heading to Australia, too. The reigning U.S. Open champion and world No. 15 had a bit of a lull after leaving Pebble Beach, but he returned to form in Asia, with a tie for third in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and a fifth-place showing, playing alongside me the final 36 holes at the Zozo. Too much firepower to leave in the States.

Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed’s on board, too. Guy turns into a raging bull when he puts on the red, white and blue. He won the Northern Trust in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, has been in the top 20 in 10 of his last 13 starts, and is No. 17 in the world.

Tony Finau

Tony Finau’s the fourth pick. Yes, he has just one win and it came in an opposite-field event in 2016. But Finau finished ninth in the Presidents Cup standings, is No. 14 in the world and has been out of the top 10 in just two of his last six starts. Further, he was one of just four players to have a winning record for the U.S. in the 2018 Ryder Cup.

The four picks will join Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar. Stacked team. We’re going to have to be, because the Internationals ain’t chump change and playing in front of those crowds, at Royal Melbourne, won’t be a walk in the park no matter what history says (the U.S. is 10-1-1 in the event).

What about Rickie Fowler?

But before I make my picks official, I have a tough phone call to make. I have to ring up Rickie Fowler and tell him – for now – he’s not on the team. Wasn’t easy leaving off Rickie. The kid’s won five PGA Tour titles, including this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, and two on the European Tour. Played on two winning Walker Cup teams and played well in the Presidents Cup in 2015 and 2017 and the Ryder Cup in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

But he hasn’t played since August due to getting married and going on a long honeymoon. And at No. 20 in the world, he’s ranked lower than the four picks I made. I have no doubt he’d be ready to go Down Under, but the four picks I made ahead of him have played since August and played well.

However, I may have to put in a call to him again after I make the four picks. My world No. 1, Koepka, could be on the shelf. He aggravated a left knee injury in Korea at the CJ Cup and withdrew from the WGC-HSBC Champions.

If Koepka can’t go, Fowler goes.

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