U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin received criticism earlier in the week for saying he'd treat Tiger Woods just like anyone else regarding his team. Jack Nicklaus responded with a quip saying that Pavin needed a 'brain scan.' Who is right? Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell weigh in with their opinions.
By RANDALL MELL
Yeah, Corey Pavin needs a brain scan, but it won’t be for failing to make Tiger Woods a captain’s pick if Woods doesn’t make the American Ryder Cup team on points this year.
Pavin will need one for failing to talk to 2008 captain Paul Azinger about what worked so fabulously well when the United States beat Europe two years ago.
Woods, by the way, wasn’t on the first American team to win a Ryder Cup in the last four tries.
Woods may go down as the greatest player who ever lived, but he’s a different player in Ryder Cups. That’s not why Pavin’s right. Woods doesn’t simmer with Ryder Cup passion the way so many players do. He doesn’t burn to play in the team event. That was clear again in April at the Masters.
Asked at Augusta National if he would like to play the Ryder Cup this year, Woods said tepidly: “If I qualify.”
The magic word there is “if.” Until Woods says otherwise, that means he doesn’t want to play “if” he doesn’t make the team on points. Like Pavin, I’d love to have Woods on my team, “if” he wants to be there.
By REX HOGGARD
Jack Nicklaus, tongue firmly planted in cheek, mused last week that U.S. Ryder Cup skipper Corey Pavin should have a “brain scan” for saying that he would give Tiger Woods no special attention if the current world No. 1 failed to make the team on points, but, truth be told, the captain-to-be was simply channeling Woods himself.
Asked at the Masters his feelings about making the trip to Wales for this year’s biennial grudge match Woods deadpanned, “If I qualify.”
No one wants to be a captain’s pick, lest of all Woods.
If September arrives and we are still talking about injuries, both self-inflicted and otherwise, Woods will be the first to take a knee. Simply put, Woods doesn’t show up playing for silver, it’s what has separated him from the pack for the better part of a Hall of Fame career.
“I don’t know why more players don’t think like that,” Woods’ caddie Steve Williams once said.
Neither does Pavin, who would undoubtedly trade all the championship bottle caps Woods has collected over the years for a single, on-form grinder with a clear mind. Our guess is that’s exactly the way Woods would want it.