SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Big news out of Whistling Straits Tuesday afternoon: U.S. Ryder Cup skipper Corey Pavin told Golf Channel contributor Jim Gray that he will add Tiger Woods to the team if Woods doesn’t qualify. Coming off the worst performance of his career at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, there has been speculation regarding Woods’ potential value to the team – or if he would accept a captain’s pick if selected.
Since changes to the format in 2008, the top eight qualifiers make the U.S. team, leaving Pavin to add four additional players of his choosing. The top eight will be solidified Sunday evening at the conclusion of the PGA Championship. Pavin’s four selections will be announced Sept. 7, the day after the Deutsche Bank Championship.
“Of course I’m going to [pick him]. He’s the best player in the world,” Pavin told Gray Tuesday in the Whistling Straits clubhouse.
Pavin’s comments came shortly after Woods said he would accept an invitation at his pre-tournament news conference – the skipper told Gray he was happy and relieved to hear Tiger wanted to be on the team. Although Woods is winless in 2010, a year beset by an avalanche of personal problems, he comes off the best team-event performance of his career at the 2009 Presidents Cup: a 5-0 record, including four victories in partnered matches with Steve Stricker.
Woods was asked in his Tuesday if he and Pavin had talked this week.
“No, I have not,” Woods said. “Haven’t seen him and hopefully I won’t be a pick. I would like to be able to play myself on to that team.”
The PGA Championship marks the ninth event for Woods this year. His two best finishes were at the Masters and the U.S. Open where he tied for fourth. Prior to last week his two worst performances this year were a missed cut at the Quail Hollow Championship and a Sunday WD at The Players Championship. But this past week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a place where Woods has won seven times, he shot 18 over par, tied for 78th and only beat Henrik Stenson in the limited-field event. Woods finished 30 shots behind winner Hunter Mahan.