Tiger Woods could have a reduced role in Ryder Cup play
Tiger Woods might have a reduced role when the United States takes on Europe in the Ryder Cup on Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales. U.S. Captain Corey Pavin understands Woods' passion for the game and competition, but said the world's top-ranked player, who has a losing record in the Ryder Cup, was willing to do what was best for the American team.
"We've talked about how many times he wants to play," Pavin said Friday during a news conference in Los Angeles. "He said, 'I want to play five matches.' We talked about him not playing as many, and he said, 'Whatever's best for the team.' "
Pavin chose Woods as a captain's pick after he failed to earn one of the eight automatic berths onto the team. Woods, who missed the 2008 Ryder Cup as he recuperated from knee surgery, could be motivated to play well as he tries to rebound from a mediocre 2010 season and his highly publicized marital problems, which recently ended in divorce, that began to unfold in public last Thanksgiving weekend when he crashed his vehicle outside his home.
"He's more than ready," Pavin said of Woods. "When he's there, he's 100% there. I think people maybe look at his record and come to some conclusion from that. Just because he doesn't have a winning record in the Ryder Cup doesn't mean he's not fully committed to it."
Pavin said the Europeans should be considered the favorites, especially since the team is more familiar with the Celtic Manor course, which was built specifically for the Ryder Cup and has been the site of the European Tour's Wales Open for the last three years.
Pavin, who said he has consulted with a variety of people -- including former Lakers great Jerry West and UCLA basketball Coach Ben Howland -- has spent time poring over possible pairings but wasn't revealing any of his decisions. He said each player had listed three potential partners. And Pavin said he is aware of Woods' past success playing with Steve Stricker, who teamed with Woods to win all four of their team segments least year in the Presidents Cup in San Francisco, and Jim Furyk, the only other player on the U.S. roster who has a winning record as Woods' partner.
"I did notice that," Pavin said coyly of Woods' success with Stricker and Furyk. "I noticed a lot of things. It's important to look back at the history of who has played where, but it's not the only factor."
Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photos: (Top) Tiger Woods tees off during the BMW Championship last week. Credit: Frank Polich / Reuters. (Inset) Corey Pavin meets with the media on Friday. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press.