As most everyone knows by now that Davis Love III has appointed Tiger Woods as an Assistant Captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup Team and the debate rages on. Any time you mention Tiger, very few people are neutral. You have one camp that thinks Tiger is the greatest player of all time and everything he does is wonderful. Then you have the other camp that thinks that Tiger has the numbers 666 on him somewhere.
Therefore we have one group that thinks this will be the salvation of our Ryder Cup hopes and another that doesn’t want him anywhere around the young guys.
In my opinion, neither group is right, but I can see more upside potential than I do downside. I think that Tiger has gained some maturity and can be a wonderful source of help and motivation for the team. I believe he will work well with Davis Love, Steve Stricker, and Jim Furyk. If Phil Mickelson makes the team, there may be a problem.
It will certainly make the 2016 Ryder Cup interesting. The first thing that I thought about when I heard the news was is this telling us about Tigers future? It seems that he is indicating that he now knows or accepts that he will not return to his old form.
Some of the comments from people in a position to know what is going on seem to agree:
Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group:
“I’m still surprised Woods agreed to the role 11 months before the Cup. I believe Tiger would love to play in it, but by accepting this gig he’s acknowledging that it might be his only way onto the team. I would’ve expected Woods to take a stance similar to Mickelson, who said his sole focus is to make the team, and assistant captaincy is plan B”.
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Josh Sens, contributing writer, GOLF Magazine:
“It does have the feeling of an early retirement gift, like being given a rocking chair long before you’ve left the office. But Woods himself had lobbied for the position, which seems less like lack of motivation than like a guy facing reality”.
Joe Passov, senior editor, Golf Magazine :
“When we last tackled this possibility, I couldn’t understand why Tiger would point for this role, rather than embracing the prospects of a massive comeback as a player. Permit me to flip-flop. Perhaps this is the smart route. The move displays Tiger’s willingness to be a team player, in contrast to what many felt about him in his Ryder Cup past. It also puts him in line for proper ascension to the Captaincy. Finally, maybe this takes the pressure off him to mount a Ryder Cup-inspired rally in terms of performance. This way, if it happens, great. If it doesn’t, he’s still an integral part of the team”.
I personally think that Tiger is finally taking a realistic evaluation of his physical problems and his golf game and just wants to be a contributing part of the team. I think he feels that given time, which he doesn’t have a lot of, he can still win again, but this takes the pressure off to some extent.