In golf news, United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk picked Tiger Woods as one of his at-large selections for the upcoming competition in late September, to be held at Le Golf National in Paris, France. Despite Woods’ solid showings at the final two major tournaments of the current PGA Tour season, we have to ask … why?!
Even if Woods is arguably one of the best golfers to ever play the game, he has never been a good Ryder Cup competitor. Look at his overall record—most of it compiled when Woods was winning multiple majors seemingly every season on Tour—and tell us why Furyk picked him, when Woods is nowhere near that old-time form right now.
Examine the facts: Woods’ record in Ryder Cup play is just 13-17-3 overall, compiled in seven competitions from 1997-2012. He missed 2008 due to injury, and the Cup was postponed one year in 2001 after the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
Why hasn’t Woods dominated Ryder Cup competition when he arguably is one of the best ever? Well, it’s complicated—but clear. Woods is 4-1-2 in his singles matches, telling you that in one-on-one competition, you generally do not want to be facing Woods if you’re a European golfer. The only person to defeat Tiger in Ryder Cup singles play was Constantino Rocca back in 1997, the first years Woods played in the competition.
Since then, Tiger has never failed to secure at least a half point in his singles matches, drawing only with Jesper Parnevik in 2002 and Francesco Molinari in 2012. Woods had a very close personal relationship with Parnevik, having met his one-time wife through the accomplished Swede. Even thought Jesper never won a major, he did have 15 worldwide wins and finished second twice in the British Open (1994, 1997).
The point is this: Parnevik could get in Tiger’s head, intimately, and still couldn’t beat him. Molinari, who won the British Open this year, clearly had the talent to match a fading Woods in 2012. So where does that leave Tiger in 2018? Is he as good as he was in 2012? That is debatable, but the aging process says no. And Molinari wasn’t as good in 2012 as he is now, that’s for sure.
That’s just the singles, too, for Woods is a laughable 9-18-1 combined in the four-ball and foursome rounds of the Ryder Cup. Let that sink in for a moment: The alleged “best ever” is the equivalent of the worst teams in baseball when it comes to playing with a partner in the Ryder Cup.
How is that even possible? Well, the theory that Woods has always been about himself takes prominence here, even if his singles matches are for King and Country, too. But for some reason, Woods just can’t get it together when playing in the more sociable formats of the Ryder Cup competitions.
It’s ridiculous that someone who has won 14 majors could be that bad in four-ball (5-8) and foursomes (4-8-1) play against world-class competition. And that was when Woods was at his best, really. From 1999-2006, the peak of Tiger’s mastery of the game and the sport, his record in these formats in the Ryder Cup was just 6-10.
Woods couldn’t even manage a winning record in four-ball and foursomes play in his prime, so there’s no reason to expect him to be able to reverse this trend now at this age and time in his career.
Furyk seems to have given in to “pressure” of some sort to have Tiger playing in the Ryder Cup, even though Woods has not earned his way on to the team the traditional way—and his playing record in the competition itself is mediocre at best, particularly in the group-play formats.
This may come back to haunt Furyk if the U.S. team fails once again to secure the Cup.