Woods plays down hype surrounding potential Ryder Cup Captaincy

Bernie McGuire

Tiger Woods (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Tiger Woods was quick to play-down any talk of remaining a playing captain for the 2021 Presidents Cup and also acting in the same role for the 2022 Ryder Cup after leading his USA team to an emotional two-point Presidents Cup victory at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

Captain Woods brilliantly led by example to become only the second playing captain since fellow American Hale Irwin led his team victory in the inaugural 1994 Presidents Cup.

Woods, who turns 44 on December 30th, won all three matches he played over the four days, missing only the Saturday fourballs and foursomes for his USA team to come from behind to record a dominant 16-14 success.

It was an eighth win in succession for the Americans in the 13-event history of the Presidents Cup.

In the process, Woods has become the winningest American in Presidents Cup competition contesting 52 matches winning 27, losing 15 and halving one compared to Phil Mickelson who played 56 matches for a 26-16-13 record.

But while Woods was being congratulated at every turn, he was more focussed in singling out his team for praise.

“We did it together. We came here as a team. My teammates and my boys all played well,” he said.

“I’ve been a part of teams before where we have won and I’ve also been a part of, unfortunately, this Presidents Cup when we lost 21 years ago,” he said, referring to the USA team’s only defeat in 1998, also at Royal Melbourne.

“So to come here and to do it in this fashion, to do it with this team, in particular, it was an honour for me as a player and even more of an honour to be their captain.

“I’ve cried in pretty much every Cup we’ve won (smiling).

“I’ve been doing this a long time. Any time you have moments where you’re able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual, it is so much more meaningful and so much more special.

“The vice-captains (Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson) did an amazing job of just being there for every little detail.

“I couldn’t have done it without all their help and all my boys. They did it.”

Victory ensures the USA retain three of the big five team trophies in golf – the Presidents Cup, the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup.

The only two trophies not in US hands is the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup.

But when Woods was asked about the chances of remaining a playing captain for the 2021 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in Charlotte North Carolina and then taking on the same role for the 2022 Ryder Cup in Rome, he responded: 

“We are going to have those conversations in the future but not right now.

“We are going to enjoy this moment.”

Woods also was quizzed how he felt he dealt with the responsibilities of being a playing captain.

“My responsibility as a captain was to put together the team and then bring the guys together as a team and we did that,” said Woods.

“Now my responsibility as a player is to do whatever the captain says when you go out and play, and that means go out and earn a point. This week as a player and a captain was a juggling act but then the guys understood that and we communicated that going into the competition.

“There was a lot of different plans that could happen and I trusted all of them from the 11 other players in the team including ‘Stricks’ (Steve Stricker), ‘Coups (Fred Couples) and Zach (Johnson), so it was trust in each other and that is what ultimately won us the cup.

“And without Stricks, Coups and Zach I could not have done this.  I would not have accepted the captaincy if these guys had not been a part of it.

“We all go back together and I have the ultimate trust and faith …… and I love those three guys. We conversed a lot about what this experience was going to be and hopefully we could create an atmosphere all the other 11 players on the team would have just an amazing experience so that we would ultimately end-up winning the cup and here is it, we won the cup.

“So, we did it and we did together. It’s just been so exciting for me to be a part of this with them and all the 11 other players is truly an experience I will truly forever.”

Woods was asked also to compare his emotions as a member of winning team to that of being the playing captain.

“Well, it’s the same feeling. We won! We did it together. I have been a part of teams before where we have won. Unfortunately, I have been a member of a Presidents Cup team when we lost 21-years ago, so to come here and do it in this fashion, and with this team in particular, is an honour for me as a player and even more of an honour to be their captain.”

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