Nicklaus: Couldn’t imagine Ryder Cup team without Woods


Two-time U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jack Nicklaus told reporters on Thursday during a PGA of America conference call that Tiger Woods’ status for this year’s matches is up to the former world No. 1.

Woods is currently 70th on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list following the Open Championship, where he finished in 69th place in just his second start since having back surgery on March 31. Woods needs solid starts at next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship if he is going to qualify for the team.

Otherwise, he will need to be one of U.S. captain Tom Watson’s three picks, which will be announced on Sept. 2.

For Nicklaus, however, it’s not a question of whether Woods should be on the team in September, but whether he wants to play the matches.

“I couldn’t imagine a Ryder Cup team without him, unless he’s done nothing between now and then with his game,” Nicklaus said. “If I were the captain I would be hard pressed, I don’t care what he does. If he wants to play I would choose him, and I would guess Tom (Watson) feels the same way. Anybody in their right mind, unless (Woods) doesn’t want to play, would choose him.”

On Sunday at Hoylake, Watson repeated a familiar refrain when it comes to Woods.

“If he’s playing well and in good health, I'll pick him.”