Tiger Woods as future Ryder Cup captain? Count on it

Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Tiger Woods as future Ryder Cup captain? Count on it

2019 Presidents Cup

Tiger Woods as future Ryder Cup captain? Count on it

By

MELBOURNE, Australia – Will we see Tiger Woods play more team events?

Very likely, considering he’s ranked in the top 10, won a major last year and won his last official PGA Tour start in October for his record-tying 82nd title.

Will we see him captain a U.S. team again?

Count on it.

Woods was guarded when asked about his future as a captain in future editions of the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup following his team’s 16-14 victory Sunday in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. “We are going to have those conversations in the future, but not right now. We are going to enjoy this one moment,” he said.

Forward Press podcast: Presidents Cup special edition

But his stalwart leadership and stellar play as playing captain won’t be a one-and-done thing.

“I hope he has the opportunity to be the captain again,” USA assistant captain Zach Johnson said. “Many, many more times. How can’t there be?”

Yes, how can’t there be? His golf IQ is off the charts. His strategic ability to break down all things golf is unmatched. His desire to lead is unquestioned.

And he’s on the Ryder Cup committee, which is determined to produce symmetry in its choice for the captaincy of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Along with Steve Stricker, the 2020 Ryder Cup captain, and Johnson, the trio will seek guidance from others in deciding the future roles.

That future will include Woods. He was a vice captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup, where he didn’t know what his golf future held as his back was broken.

He was a vice captain at the 2017 Presidents Cup, when his juices for a captaincy started to percolate. He played in the 2018 Ryder Cup after spinal fusion surgery gave him back his way of life.

And now he’s 1-0 as a captain after the Presidents Cup. His teammates this week had a hard time answering if Woods was better as a player or captain as the U.S. won the Presidents Cup for the 11th time in 13 tries. They wouldn’t mind teeing it up with him again come 2020 at Whistling Straits for the Ryder Cup. They would love to be led by him once again, whether in the 2021 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in Charlotte or the 2022 Ryder Cup outside of Rome.

“He’s playing unbelievably,” said Justin Thomas, who teamed with Woods for two victories. “Most golf courses do benefit him, but as much control as he has of his golf ball and how high he can hit it and the different shots he can hit, I think he would have been tough to beat. I know I’m glad he was my partner the first two days because I probably would have lost both my matches.

“In terms of a captain, he did great. Actually I was talking to Zach about it, because someone who has done as much as Tiger has and had as much experiences as he had in all these team events, he very easily, I felt, could have tried to take over the team rooms or try to give all this advice and try to do so much, when he was like, look, we have 12 of the best players in the world. No offense, he just needed to get out of the way and that’s what he did.

“He was just like, ‘Go play hard, boys.’ Even when we got down, he was like, ‘They are making more putts than we are. We’re going to be fine.’

“He never panicked.”

And if Woods isn’t named as captain again, Matt Kuchar might retire.

“It was really cool being part of this team and having Tiger as captain in that you get Tiger to speak up a little more,” he said. “I think a lot of our teams as a player, you let the captain captain and the players play, and to get Tiger to speak up, I mean, we had a room full of some of the greatest golfers in the world, and when he speaks, we all listen. It was awesome to be a part of.

“I think all of us will look back and have these pictures hanging on our walls and say, we played for and alongside Tiger Woods, the greatest player ever. It was awesome. And to have him take that role, take that mantle as captain, was great fun to be part of.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home