Tiger eyes future Ryder Cup captaincy

2016-10-03 10:23
Tiger Woods (Getty Images)

Chaska - Tiger Woods, the 14-time major winner sidelined 14 months by a back injury, said on Sunday he would enjoy guiding a future US Ryder Cup team after a triumphant assistant turn.

Woods played his supporting role behind US captain Davis Love as the Americans downed Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine, a journey that began with his role on a task force after a 2014 loss in the biennial team golf showdown.

"Yeah, I would love to do it," Woods said. "I would be honoured to do it in the future, if asked. But from the player standpoint of it, I like playing."

Woods, who plans to make his competitive comeback in two weeks at the 2016-17 US PGA Tour season opener in Napa, California, had back surgery a year ago and missed the entire just-concluded season recovering.

His delay to make certain he is fully ready was a nod to past seasons where he returned too soon only to aggravate old injuries or incur new ones.

But it also gave him time to be a key part of Love's staff and strategy developers along with fellow assistants Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Tom Lehman.

"I can't thank Tiger and Jim and Steve and Tom enough. They made a lot of crucial decisions, gave me a lot of great support," Love said. "It's truly a big team, but it was a team effort."

Woods has played on seven Ryder Cup teams, going 13-17 with three halved. He boasts a 4-1 with two halved singles record but has struggled in pairs, although with tighter bonds built this week, he might be in a better position were he to make the US team for France in 2018.

"I love these guys. I love being out there in the fight with these guys," Woods said. "I was just in the fight a different way and had to do my role and had to my job in a different way, and it was pretty cool."

His colleagues included seventh-ranked Bubba Watson, rejected for a player spot but a last-minute pick as assistant captain.

"I have Tiger's cell phone number now," two-time Masters champion Watson bragged. "I'm going to text you all the time."

Being an assistant captain might even help Woods should he make his way back as a player.

"As a player that's been on these teams, to be on a different side of it, to be on the vice captaincy side of it has meant so much," Woods said. "What the vice captains and the captain ultimately have to decide, it's tough.

"As a player, all you have to do is get ready for the golf course. Just go out there and try and have your game and be ready when called upon. As a non-player, it's very complicated. There's a lot of things that I didn't realize that went on. Very eye-opening. It was a great experience. I learned a lot.

"I became really close to a lot of these guys. These are bonds that will last a lifetime. Didn't actually hit a golf shot, but we are truly a team. We accomplished it and we won it together."

But some bonds might be too close. When the team was asked about the best off-course memory of the week, US Open winner Dustin Johnson smiled and said, "You sure that's not for Tiger?"

That brought knowing smiles all around and had Woods burying his head in his hands without elaborating.

Read more on:    ryder cup  |  tiger woods  |  golf

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