WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson sounded a familiar refrain Wednesday when asked yet again about the possibility of Tiger Woods being one of his three captain’s picks later this summer.
“As I've said,” he reiterated, “if he's playing well and he's healthy, he's on the team.”
Of course, that’s a big if. Not just the part about being healthy coming off recent microdiscectomy surgery, but also the part about playing well.
Because, quite frankly, Woods might not be playing at all leading into the Ryder Cup.
Right now, Woods has accumulated exactly 43 points in the FedEx Cup standings, leaving him at No. 208 on the list. Should he not crack the top 125 in the three more starts he's expected to make before the playoffs begin – the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship – that would likely mean six weeks off for Woods leading into the Ryder Cup.
Read between the lines and you can see how “playing well” would have to include actually playing competitively.
Watson certainly sees it that way.
“He'll be considered less of a pick then if he didn't have a track record going into the Ryder Cup, of course,” the captain explained. “He'd be the first to tell you, ‘I haven't been playing.’ Like I said, how he's been playing and if he's healthy, those are the two factors that I'll weigh in choosing. That's just common sense in my opinion.”