Tiger Woods won’t be at the Ryder Cup in Rome but he’s already proven he can be a valuable asset to Team USA
- Tiger Woods has likely made his last appearance as a player at the Ryder Cup
- But the 15-time major winner could Team USA’s captain as soon as 2025
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
The last time Team USA attempted to break its drought on European soil, Tiger Woods was leading the mission.
Fast forward five years and his appearance in Paris in 2018 seems very likely to have been his last. As a player at least.
The 47-year-old will not be playing at Marco Simone for Zach Johnson. He won’t be a vice captain. He won’t even be there. But his presence will still be felt.
Woods, a man who bleeds red, white and blue, has 15 majors to his name and a treasure trove of Ryder Cup experience, is someone any American would want in their corner.
Injury may be keeping him off the course but the man just can’t seem to keep his mind off the game.
Tiger Woods likely made his last appearance at the Ryder Cup as a player in Paris in 2018
USA captain Zach Johnson has already guaranteed that Woods will play a role this year
While the 47-year-old won’t be in Rome, he will still be whispering in the Americans’ ears
And Johnson has already confirmed that even unofficially Woods will still have a role as he operates from the shadows – or his couch.
Clearly itching to be involved, Woods will be whispering in the ears of the 12 Americans battling the Europeans in Rome.
Captain Johnson revealed that Woods will be on call for his wise counsel should Team USA require his expertise.
‘He is a great resource,’ Johnson said of Woods. ‘He’s very invested in Team USA, very invested in how we navigate year in and year out Team USA because the guy is patriotic, he wants to win, he’s got experience and, shocker, he’s the best player in whatever decades. Thankfully, he’s an American. He is red white and blue, through and through.
‘Personally speaking, I could show you the text messages he and I have had … a lot of them are so great in support and belief and faith. I got to tag along with him as a vice captain in his captainship in Australia, and the man knows what he is talking about … he’s amazing, and he will continue to be a part of Team USA going forward. He will not be in Rome, which is fine, it’s probably not wise, it was more or less his decision, but he’s great counsel.’
And who could offer better wisdom than the greatest golfer of the past couple of decades?
Woods has played in eight Ryder Cups, competing in 37 matches and finishing with a career record of 13 wins, 21 defeats and three halves.
He’s also already performed leadership duties, having been an assistant captain at Hazeltine in 2016.
Woods (pictured in 1999) has played in eight Ryder Cups, competing in 37 matches
Woods (pictured with Chris Riley in 2004) has a record of 13 wins, 21 defeats and three halves
The 15-time major winner acted as one of Davis Love III’s (left) vice captains in 2016
But this won’t be the first time Woods will be operating from the wings.
He was also absent from the USA’s 19-9 massacre at the 2021 tournament at Whistling Straits but still managed to deliver one of the most rousing rallying cries.
Woods became the ultimate motivator, sending text messages to his fellow countrymen to encourage them to the dominant victory from the comfort of his couch.
One of the messages contained a particularly violent mental image to inspire his compatriots.
With the USA having already established a significant 11-5 lead over Europe heading into Sunday singles, Woods texted captain Steve Stricker: ‘Now step on their necks.’
Woods continued his couch captaining last year during the Presidents Cup as he acted as Davis Love III’s extra pair of eyes.
Again absent from Quail Hollow, Woods regularly called the American captain to chip in with advice.
‘He’s spoken to a lot of people on the team,’ Love said at the time. ‘I was standing there on sixth tee for like an hour, a long time, so I called him and we talked for a while. And I said, well, at least you’re watching on TV. Call us if you see anything.’
During the 2021 tournament, Woods texted captain Steve Stricker: ‘Now step on their necks’
Woods even hopped on team Zoom calls and crunched the numbers.
‘He’s very involved. He’s very helpful,’ Love added. ‘We send him the analytics stuff we get and he makes his own pairings and sends them to us. I still have copies of the notes he was sending me back in 2015 to get ready for 2016. He’s a great — he’s his own analytics team and he gives us a lot of great information.
Johnson, Stricker and Love’s open-door policy for Woods’ input is a testament to the inspirational figure Woods is for USA.
Woods talks and the Americans – and the golfing world – listen.
Even with no official role and miles across the Atlantic, all 12 members of the American team at Marco Simone will view him as a leadership figure.
And he’s already proven to be a successful commander-in-chief, stepping into the role at the 2019 Presidents Cup.
Woods lifted the Presidents Cup as captain and player at Royal Melbourne in 2019
In an iconic move, Woods picked himself to face Ernie Els’ international side and, not only did he lead the USA to a 16-14 victory scooping up the first point of the singles matches, he also was by far the best player at Royal Melbourne and the only one not to record a loss.
Woods has already proven he is a captain-in-waiting for the Ryder Cup. It’s now not a question of if, but rather when.
Captain Woods could even come as soon as 2025. Phil Mickelson had long been penciled in to take charge of Team USA at Bethpage Black, but his LIV Golf defection and allegations of attempting to place a bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup have surely taken the eraser to his name.
If not 2025, then 2027 at Adare Manor is practically a certainty. And if his couch captaining is anything to go by, then Woods’ Ryder Cup tenure should leave the Europeans shaking in fear.
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