Question of the day: Should Tiger Woods be named to the Ryder Cup team? [Updated]
Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant
As much as I hate to disappoint Jim “You’re Going Down” Gray, U.S. captain Corey Pavin should not select Tiger Woods.
Pavin’s picks should be for those players who merit the honor and can help the U.S. team the most in Wales.
Woods isn’t in that class.
Yes, he played better at the PGA Championship, a tie for 28th, compared to the week before at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he beat one player in the field of 80. And yes, he’s still No. 1 in the world rankings.
But he ranked last in driving accuracy (21 of 56 fairways) at the PGA Championship. That’s not what you want in Ryder Cup match play, especially in the alternate-shot format. And his putting -- an essential for Ryder Cup birdies and success -- has been substandard.
Yes, Woods is No. 12 in Ryder Cup points, so it could follow that he’ll be one of Pavin’s final four picks. But most of Woods’ points came last year.
This year he’s not the same Woods and not Ryder Cup-worthy.
[Updated at 11:17 a.m.:
Mark Wogenrich, the Morning Call
As most Ryder Cup captains do, Corey Pavin is turning his ceremonial position into a job that requires a Situation Room. He consulted UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland on team-building and contracted wife Lisa to organize the team room in Wales. Besides a ping-pong table, Wii consoles and a freshly tapped keg, what more do the players need?
Agonizing over Tiger Woods will be high atop Pavin’s list. "I don’t think there’s any cons," Pavin said Monday, ignoring Woods’ 2010 season, his 10-13-2 Ryder Cup record and his potential unpopularity with the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) at Celtic Manor. But if Pavin allows any of that to influence him negatively, he’s employing a management style that makes Tony La Russa look cavalier.
If he had two picks, perhaps Pavin could make fair justification for not selecting Woods. But not with four. Woods has lost one singles match in five Cups and is the quintessential match-play competitor of his generation.]
[Updated at 1:28 p.m.:
Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
It would depend on how Woods performs at the FedEx Cup playoff opener in two weeks. If he can’t play his way into the second event -– he’ll need to make up at least eight places in the standings -– then his troubles are too many for my risk/reward meter.
Woods hasn’t had a top-20 finish since tying for fourth at the U.S. Open. Meanwhile, here’s a list of Americans with at least three top-20s in that span but are not on the Ryder roster: Nick Watney, Sean O’Hair, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Moore, Vaughn Taylor and Matt Bettencourt.
They have results, and we’re discussing Woods?
Yeah, none of them have a major title or have ever been No. 1 in the rankings before. But the Ryder Cup is about who’s playing well now, and Woods has been an average PGA Tour player since Father’s Day. Plus, an early FedEx Cup ouster will mean he’s coming in cold.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
One week ago, with Tiger Woods hitting it sideways at Firestone and playing the “I’m-too-cool-for-a-captain’s-pick” game, Corey Pavin had every reason to take a pass. Now? No way.
Woods, who knows something about rehabs, found his game at Whistling Straits. Certainly not his “A” game, and not really his “B.” But even at C-plus, Woods ranks in America’s top 12. And more to the point, Woods actually wants to go to Wales to represent the Red, White and Blue. A week ago it was safe to wonder if he wanted to lock his clubs in his car. (OK, his SUV.)
The final reason for Pavin to select Woods: So the captain won’t get asked about snubbing him. That would get old very quickly.]
Photo: Tiger Woods tips his cap to the gallery after finishing his final round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Sunday. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Reuters