Tiger Wants to be Playing Captain at Presidents Cup
TIGER WOODS aims to create another piece of golfing history at next year’s Presidents Cup match. He was named captain of the USA side to take on the Internationals when he was in the early stages of his comeback. Nobody considered it even a remote possibility that Woods would be in any shape to be considered as a playing member of the team. That was then.
In the months since, he led The Open going into the back nine on the final day, finished second in the US PGA Championship and won the Tour Championship. It is no surprise then that Woods has made it clear he wants to be the first playing captain since the inaugural event back in 1994, when Hale Irwin performed both duties. And who would bet against him achieving just that? The match will take place at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from December 12-15, 2019, with Ernie Els leading the Rest of the World team.
Woods makes no secret of his desire to make his own team. “God I hope so. I just looked at the points and I was ninth, so I’d be asking the captain for a pick,” Woods said. “I really hope to be a playing captain, I really do.”
He received a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup and although he failed to pick up a single point that had more to do with the quality of golf on display from those who played alongside him than Woods’ own form. When Woods was announced on March 13 as the U.S. Presidents Cup captain (along with the announcement of Ernie Els as the International Team captain), he was 44th in the standings for the U.S. Team - he is now ninth. The final qualifying event for the U.S. will be the 2019 TOUR Championship, where Woods will be defending his title.
Woods will, of course name several vice-captains, which makes the possibility of him filling a playing role a realistic possibility. “What Hale Irwin did in 1994 was somewhat interesting,” Woods said. “He sat out in the morning and then played in the afternoon so he could control the pairings and do the pairings and submit them and then he’d play in the afternoon. Then he played first match out in singles.”
Woods and Els have already agreed to a small tweak in the format of the competition with players now only needing to play one team session before the Sunday singles. In the 2017 Presidents Cup, the stipulation was two team sessions per player. This change would allow Woods more flexibility to sit himself out to perform captain duties if he was indeed part of the team.
The top eight players in the standings will qualify for the team automatically, with Woods having four picks. So if he remained in ninth place, would he pick himself? “I would like to get to a point where I wouldn’t have to make that decision, to where I’m playing well enough where I could make the team on points,” he said.
“I think Ernie wants to do his picks right around the WGC–HSBC Champions next year in China and I need to figure out when I want to do mine to make sure we get the guys committed to playing but also that they know their playing schedule so they can play in the fall to keep sharp because the tournament is not until December. I need the guys to still be sharp and playing tournament golf.”
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