People are looking closely at Tiger Woods right now, especially after his worst-ever finish at a Major, shooting a 75 on the final day of the British Open to struggle to get 69th place.
Of course, Woods brought all this on himself by being one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen. He takes on surgery for this back issues earlier this year and, rather than practice on some quiet backwater course to build his game up, Woods is taking his game to the people… competitive play, the kind he’s used to. And so everyone gets to watch him gradually hone his game back to perfection – but it’s not an easy process.
The expectations are high for Woods, but the reality is harsh. He may not make the cut for the European season later on this year – although, frankly, the organizers would be nuts not to let him on a wild card as he’s still – did I mention it before – one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen. And that draws in crowds…
Tom Watson – who will this year captain the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup – has told Woods that he’s got to raise his game if he wants to play. This coming from a 64-year old man who beat Woods by seven strokes on the last day of the British Open.
Watson has another problem in Phil Mickelson who also hasn’t been playing up to his usual standards. Asked about whether Woods and Mickelson would be selected for the Ryder Cup team, Watson told the press, “If Phil and Tiger don’t make it in the mix there, I’ve got some real thinking to do. Everybody is thinking that I’m going to pick them automatically. I can assure that I’m not going to pick them automatically.”
But let’s hear it from the great man, Jack Nicklaus, who was twice captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team – would he invite Woods on the team if he was captain now? Nicklaus did not hesitate, “Oh, absolutely, I couldn’t imagine him not being on a Ryder Cup team, unless he does absolutely nothing in recovering from his game between now and then. If I was a captain, I would be hard-pressed. I don’t care what he does between now and then. If Tiger wants to play, I would certainly choose him. My guess is that Tom feels pretty much the same way. Tom would certainly like to have Tiger on his team, and I think anybody in their right mind, unless he just doesn’t want to play or doesn’t think he could play, would not choose him.”