NEW YORK • Butch Harmon, the coach who guided Tiger Woods to eight of his 14 Major titles, believes that his former pupil is more energised by his role as a Ryder Cup vice-captain than he ever was as a player in the biennial event.
Although the dominant competitor of his era, Woods' Ryder Cup record - 13 wins, 17 defeats and three halves in seven appearances between 1997 and 2012 - was a poor return from a player who spent 683 weeks at the top of golf's world rankings.
Given that backdrop, his appointment by Davis Love III, the US captain, as one of his assistants at Hazeltine this week raised eyebrows throughout the sport. But Harmon is convinced that Woods is determined to make a success of it.
"He has been so engaged with this," Harmon said.
"I find it interesting that Tiger is actually more engaged with this Ryder Cup team than he was when he played on them. He was such an individual as a player but he has really taken to this role as a vice-captain and really gotten into it.
GIVING IT HIS ALL
Tiger is actually more engaged with this Ryder Cup team than he was when he played on them... he has really taken to this role as a vice-captain and really gotten into it.
BUTCH HARMON, on Tiger Woods' commitment as a Ryder Cup vice-captain.
"He's got all kinds of statistics, team pairings and group pairings and who he likes. I know that Davis has used Tiger's opinion a lot. He has been texting all the guys, talking to all the guys. He is 100 per cent committed, that's for sure."
Perversely, Woods' singles record of four wins, two halves and one defeat seemed to reinforce the impression that he was a great individual but a poor team player.
He famously added fuel to that fire in 2002 when, playing in a World Golf Championship event, he said that he would rather win that tournament than the forthcoming Ryder Cup. Asked why, he said there were "a million reasons".
However, Harmon is adamant that Woods has changed his outlook. He also rejected suggestions made by Lee Westwood that the Woods would be a divisive influence within the American team.
"I think it will work the other way around," Harmon said, echoing Paul Azinger, the former US team captain, who also dismissed Westwood's claim.
"I think the guys all respect him (Woods). For me, he's the greatest golfer that ever lived, so I think he is a great asset to the US team."
THE TIMES, LONDON