HOYLAKE, England – After another injury-plagued season, Tiger Woods finds himself outside the FedEx Cup bubble, just like in 2011.
That year, he made only nine starts because of knee and Achilles’ injuries, and his missed cut at the PGA Championship sealed his FedEx fate.
Not surprisingly, he’s in even worse shape this year after playing through a back injury for two months and then going under the knife in late March. With only four events counting toward his season-long total, Woods is 212th in points (43).
That’s why this week’s Open Championship is an important event in many respects for the former world No. 1.
All majors award 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner, with 330 to the runner-up, 210 to third place, 150 to fourth and 120 to fifth. In other words, they create a lot of volatility.
After crunching the numbers, it appears that Woods likely has to average a fifth-place finish in his next three starts – here, Bridgestone and PGA – to earn enough points to put him on the No. 125 cut line. A win (or other high finish) obviously will help his cause immensely.
“The way this point structure is, you can make up ground pretty quickly with some wins,” he said Tuesday. “If I get in the playoffs, you can just win one event and come out of nowhere to the top 5 very quickly.”
Getting into the playoffs likely will determine his Ryder Cup future as well.
Woods is No. 72 in Ryder Cup points, and U.S. captain Tom Watson has said – ad nauseam – that he will select Tiger for the team if he is healthy and playing well. Woods can’t convince anyone of that fact if he’s on the sidelines for a month and a half between the PGA and Gleneagles.
Watson said that he hoped to have a conversation with Woods this week, but that meeting hasn’t yet occurred.
When asked how important it was for him to be on the team, Woods said, “You build these amazing bonds and friendships and camaraderie that lasts for lifetimes. I think that’s one of the neat things about being on these teams – you start appreciating it. I’ve been able to be on the teams with basically Phil (Mickelson) and Jim (Furyk) for the better part of 17 years or so. Hopefully I can do it again.”