Next year’s US Presidents Cup captain, Davis Love III, is open to Tiger Woods helping the team in any way he can.
Though Love would want to see the 15-time major winner recover from his Feb. 23 car accident and return to the game by September, he is open to having the successful 2019 playing captain help in any manner he can.
“I think we pushed Tiger – it would have been a wonderful captaincy for Tiger to keep going,” Love said at the RSM Classic on Tuesday. “At the time (before Woods’ fall), he said, ‘No, I’m playing really well, I’m going to make the team, and I enjoyed being captain of Australia, but I want to be a player on the team.’ As a result, his role is whatever he wants it to be. Tiger’s responsibility is to call me up and say, “Hey, you’re tossed out, I’m taking over.” You know, if he wants to be an assistant. I’m hoping he comes back and begins playing again, and that he can make being on the squad a goal.
“He was an important element of our Ryder Cup team.” It took a long time to bring him to the point where he was willing to participate. He had a difficult start to the year, but after we got him up to speed, he was a huge assist and a lot of fun for the Ryder Cup and the team. Obviously, the boys were going to see him down in South Florida all summer, but he had a watch party at his house coming up to the Ryder Cup. He’s free to do whatever he wants, and I’m sure he’ll be a significant part of it.”
Woods’ “insight” is crucial, according to Love, because Woods has developed positive relationships with several of the players who will compete for a spot on Love’s ’22 team.
“Tiger has good information on some of the players that we don’t know,” Love said. “He went from a guy we didn’t know to now he’s a leader and an inside guy.” In captains’ picks, he was extremely useful. He was tremendously helpful in strategy and pairings for me in ’16 [as US Ryder Cup captain] and later as an assistant captain. He’s a tactician, and he watches a lot more golf than I do, so he knows a lot.”
Phil Mickelson, who just won the PGA Tour Champions’ Charles Schwab Cup Championship for his fourth senior victory in six outings, is also a possibility for Team USA next year, according to Love. With Lefty winning the PGA Championship and thriving on the senior circuit this year, Love believes the 51-year-old can still tee it up at Quail Hollow in what may be his final Presidents Cup appearance.
“I think Charlotte, certainly, right now I’d look at Phil more getting ready to play,” he remarked. “I believe he has a chance to have a strong year on the PGA Tour.” Obviously, he’ll be a favorite when he debuts on the Champions Tour, and I believe he has the best winning % in the tour’s history. He hasn’t won as many races as Hale Irwin, but he’s doing a lot better than [Jim] Furyk in terms of wins per start. Yes, more than anything, I’d look for Phil as a player right now.”
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