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Tiger a Ryder Cup lock? Furyk not tipping hand

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ST. LOUIS – In January, Jim Furyk asked Tiger Woods to be one of his vice captains for this year’s Ryder Cup, an offer the 14-time major champion immediately embraced – with one caveat.

“We talked about him possibly playing. He knew then, I think, that he was on the mend, that he was starting to feel better,” Furyk recalled on Wednesday at Bellerive. “That was probably a sign that I should have picked up a lot quicker on.”

Seven months removed from that conversation, Woods has moved to 20th on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list and is, according to many, an obvious choice to play this year’s matches, either as an automatic qualifier or a captain’s pick.

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Furyk acknowledged that Woods would be on his “list” of potential picks if he doesn’t qualify this week, with the top eight on the point list earning a spot on the team, but stopped well short of calling him a lock to receive selection.

In fact, Furyk would have a few decisions to make regarding Woods in the next few weeks, primarily whether he could do both, vice captain and play, if he does make the team.

“He’s on that list we’ve talked about and I think we still need to hash that out,” Furyk said. “Is it possible [to do both jobs]? Sure, we just need to decide if that’s best for the team.”

Furyk explained that either way, as a player, vice captain or both, Woods will be a leader in the U.S. team room in Paris.

“He’s a big help in either role,” Furyk said. “I was impressed at Hazeltine [site of the 2016 matches] with how much he brought to the team. If he was on the team he was always a leader, as a player he played both roles.”