August 29, 2011
Tiger still more talented
The Morning Call
Sure, the field has caught and even trampled Tiger Woods in stroke-play tournaments. But Tiger still has more talent than the bottom third of the U.S. Presidents Cup team combined.
In match play, particularly one-on-one, he has as much resolve as a freedom fighter.
And when Tiger is inspired — as he will be after his selection is maligned by some — his engine gets fired up more than Dick Vitale preaching at a motivational seminar.
Forget the slump and the injuries and the personal meltdown. Head-to-head, Tiger still can stare you down like Jack and rip out your heart like MJ. And come Sunday's singles play, when every point is precious, Tiger will make us proud.
He didn't earn his spot
U.S. captain Fred Couples says Woods "is the best player in the world forever."
In the past, yes, but no way today. Woods has plummeted from No. 2 in the world to No. 36. He didn't even crack the top 125 on the points list to play in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup postseason.
Woods is 28th in the Presidents Cup standings. That's right between Kevin Na and D.A. Points — not exactly Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker.
Couples had until Sept. 26 to make his two captain's picks. Why didn't he wait to see if Woods could play himself onto the team? With Woods' selection, how does Jim Furyk (11th in the standings) or PGA champion Keegan Bradley (18th) stay motivated to try to earn a captain's choice?
No one deserves a spot. You have to earn it.
Give world what it wants
Absolutely. The world wants to see Tiger Woods play. And it's the Presidents Cup, not the all-important Ryder Cup.
The Presidents Cup is a nice little biennial event that pits Americans against an international field of non-Europeans. I had to look up the last time the U.S. lost — in 1998. It was also the only time in eight matches that the Uncle Sams went down. The Americans have won the last three by a collective 13 points.
Would the American team be a bit stronger with Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk or Zach Johnson, all of whom still have a chance to qualify on points? Perhaps. But having Woods in Australia in November will get people to flip channels away from football. That's good for the event.
Not among best this year
It's fine to elect a great old-timer or two to an all-star team as a final thank-you
So, no, I would not have picked Tiger Woods for the Presidents Cup this year. Sometime during the past decade, that made-for-TV event became a real competition, one that fans pay attention to in the United States and overseas.
And right now Tiger Woods is not one of the best U.S. players. That's not taking anything away from what Woods has accomplished in his career. And if he even comes close to returning to that form in future years, he should represent the U.S. again.
Just not this year.
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