Monday, September 13, 2010

Tiger Woods as a Ryder Cupper

I know it's been a week since Corey Pavin announced that Tiger Woods would be a member of the 2010 Ryder Cup team, but I'm still getting a ton of questions about it from people and wanted to just write a few notes of why I see this as a good idea, no matter the critics.

See, here is what the critics are saying.

-- Tiger has a terrible record in the Ryder Cup.
-- Tiger is a terrible teammate and is on an island all by himself.
-- Tiger has had a terrible 2010, and won't ring much to the team in form of success.
-- The Americans won the Ryder Cup in 2008 without Tiger on the team.
-- Tiger sucks!!!

Okay, so I made up the last one, but you get the drift. Sure, Tiger has had a pitiful 2010 by his standards, failing to make it to the Tour Championship and without a win on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career. On top of that, yes, Tiger's record of 10-13-2 is weak compared to the standards he set.

Here are my points against all those things, and they aren't too complicated. First, Tiger had a weak 2010, but he was only one win away from tying Phil Mickelson in 2010 victories. The thing is, nobody had an incredible 2010! Not one single player. Sure, guys like Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar have had breakout seasons, but not a single person on the PGA Tour has more than two wins this year. If anything, Tiger's inability to win resides more with the fact that too many good golfers are out there now than with the fact that he is failing to dominate. But sure, I'll give you him having a tough year. That's fine.

Now, for him being a bad Ryder Cupper. First, you must understand, there isn't a single person on the American team that has played in more than one Ryder Cup with a winning record. From 2002 to 2006, The Americans got out scored 52.5 to 31.5 by the Europeans, so of course Americans players during that stretch are going to have a tough record. It's math more than anything.

You don't leave Tiger Woods at home during these matches if you can help it. He is the best match play player to ever play the game, and like I've said a hundred times, he will destroy one of these matches before his career ends. More than anything else, Tiger is one of the most competitive athletes to ever play ANY game, so at one point he will just let that lead him to a nasty 5-0-0 record and it'll be the story of the Ryder Cup for years to come.

On top of that, people still don't want to play against Tiger. No matter what anyone says, Woods is still an intimidating figure on the golf course, and having him paired with the likes of Steve Stricker or Bubba Watson is going to make the two Europeans a little nervous. That has to account for something at match play.

So, yes, I understand the knocks on Tiger on this team, but unless there is someone that BLOWS away him as a captain's pick, you snag Woods and run away with it. He's the best golfer in the world despite a poor season, and it'll come back one day. Who's to say that it won't be in Wales?

Getty Images


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