Tiger the tactician in US' Ryder Cup team

Despite being sidelined for almost a year, Tiger Woods has been making himself useful to the US Ryder Cup team through his tactical input.
Despite being sidelined for almost a year, Tiger Woods has been making himself useful to the US Ryder Cup team through his tactical input.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods is taking on the role of US strategist for next month's Ryder Cup against holders Europe, said captain Davis Love III.

The 14-time Major winner has been sidelined for almost a year as he recovers from multiple back operations. But he seems to have spent much of his time away thinking about how the Americans can wrest back the trophy from Europe.

"He's been texting me some pairings and some groupings," Love told Sky Sports television. "He's put a lot of thought into it and he's kind of our tactician.

"He's probably one of the most prepared guys when he shows up at a golf tournament. He's already picked his four wild cards... he knows who he wants to watch, who he wants to manage and who he'll get along well with."

US Open winner Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Zach Johnson, JB Holmes and Brandt Snedeker currently occupy the automatic eight qualifying berths for the 12-man American team.

Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are the next four players in the points list and look best placed to receive a wild-card pick.

Europe's top nine are Rory McIlroy, Masters champion Danny Willett, British Open winner Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The holders are currently loaded with rookies in the form of Willett, Wood, Cabrera-Bello, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick, so captain Darren Clarke may prefer to go for experience with his three wild cards.

Ryder Cup stalwarts Lee Westwood (12th) and Martin Kaymer (13th) will also be hopeful of a pick.

Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Tyrrell Hatton of Britain are 10th and 11th respectively but the fact that they have never played a Ryder Cup match could count against them.

Europe's talisman Ian Poulter, who has won 14 points from a possible 18 in his career, will be missing this time due to arthritic problems.

Clarke is due to name his wild-card picks at the end of this month while Love will make his four selections next month.

The Ryder Cup at Hazeltine starts on Sept 30.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Tiger the tactician in US' Ryder Cup team'. Print Edition | Subscribe