Monday, September 6, 2010

Woods set to learn Ryder Cup fate

Tiger Woods at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston
Woods is waiting for a call from US captain Pavin

Tiger Woods will on Tuesday find out if he has made the United States Ryder Cup team to play Europe at Celtic Manor.

The world number one missed out on one of the eight automatic qualification spots but hopes to be one of captain Corey Pavin's four wildcard picks.

Anthony Kim, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink are in the running.

Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar are already in the 12-man team.

The United States selection race ended after the USPGA in August, which was won by Germany's Martin Kaymer.

Woods finished 12th in the Ryder Cup standings after coming joint 28th at Whistling Straits.

And the 34-year-old is in danger of losing his five-year reign as the world's best golfer to Mickelson or Stricker in Monday's final round of the PGA Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.

His fate now lies in the hands of Pavin who must also decide whether Kim, who missed three months of the season after thumb surgery, 2009 US Open champion Glover, or 2007 Masters winner Johnson, who were ahead of Woods in the rankings, deserve a place in the team.

Speaking in August, Pavin said: "[Woods] is high on my list and he's certainly a big consideration, no doubt, but as I've said before I'm looking at everybody and, come September 7th, I will let you guys know who those four are going to be."

Watson, who finished runner-up in the USPGA, climbed 15 spots with his play-off loss to Kaymer in the USPGA and is one of four players making their debut in the 1-3 October match in south Wales along with Johnson, Overton and Kuchar.

"I've wanted to play the Ryder Cup my whole life," stated Watson. "I've made many a putt when I was eight and 10-years-old to win the Ryder Cup. So why would you not want to play for your country?"

Woods, whose world has been turned upside down after a sex scandal, is struggling to recreate the form that has won him 14 major titles and has not clinched a major since June 2008.

After taking five months out to address issues in his private life at the start of the year, he made an encouraging return when he finished tied for fourth at the Masters and again at the US Open.

However, he and his wife Elin Nordegren divorced in August and the rest of his year has been poor by his standards, including missing the cut at Quail Hollow, withdrawing from the Players Championship and suffering his worst four-round result in a PGA Tour finish at Ohio last month.


Although it is considered a foregone conclusion that Woods would be offered a wildcard, Pavin said last month that he was not guaranteed a place because he wanted to be fair to all the players in contention.

Woods has played in five Ryder Cups beginning at Valderrama in 1997 but missed out in 2008 after knee surgery, when the US team won for the first time since 1999 and recorded its largest margin of victory since 1981.

European captain Colin Montgomerie named his link three wildcards to complete his team after the Johnnie Walker Championship on 29 August.

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