BBC BLOGS - Iain Carter
« Previous | Main | Next »

Woods a dangerman like never before

Post categories:

Iain Carter | 17:02 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Corey Pavin's decision to pick Tiger Woods for the American Ryder Cup team was a bit like deciding whether to pay into a voluntary pension scheme. He wasn't compelled to do it, but he felt he should, even though there was no guarantee of the dividend meeting expectations.

There are no guarantees when it comes to the world's top golfer these days and, in truth, there have never been any when it has come to the Ryder Cup. In five appearances for his country against Europe, Woods has been on the losing team on four occasions.

In his absence, through injury two years ago, the United States were a rejuvenated force under the leadership of Paul Azinger, who was able to fashion a keener team spirit without Woods in the team room.

So there's plenty to point to the US being better off when he doesn't play in a Ryder Cup. Yet Pavin's selection - which was far from unexpected - might just pay off, especially in a side that looks to have an encouraging balance between experience and youth.

And the upcoming running of this biennial transatlantic dust-up might just be the one where Woods genuinely "gets" the Ryder Cup. Despite his mediocre individual results in 2010 this could be the one where Europe feel the full extent of his powers.

These are unique circumstances. Never before has the world number one required a captain's pick. He's routinely topped the qualifying list for an event that has always seemed somewhat further down his list of priorities compared with those of most of his opponents.

He has always cut a rather reluctant figure and once told me that he thinks we in Europe get too carried away with the event. As far as he's always been concerned it is majors that define a career and not performances in matches like the Ryder Cup.

Previously, Woods had no real choice over whether or not he would play for his country - and the prospect of doing so without being paid for the privilege doesn't sit easy with him either. It's an attitude of antipathy that can permeate through a team, especially when it comes from the player they most admire.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Pavin picks Woods for Ryder Cup

This time there has been an element of choice because he could easily have announced that he was taking a break in the wake of his recent divorce. Make no mistake he wants to be on this team and has genuine incentive to do well.

He made it clear at the USPGA in August that we should forget his "I wouldn't want to play if I'm playing like this" of the previous week and that he would be a willing participant if selected.

This alters the dynamic and furthermore Woods maybe recognises that for the first time he genuinely has something to gain from the Ryder Cup. Without a "W" - as he calls them - in 2010 perhaps the Celtic Manor clash offers Woods his best chance of experiencing a win this year?

And imagine what it would do for his rehabilitation in the eyes of the American public if he were to play a pivotal role in such a victory.

This is not to say Woods hasn't tried his hardest in the past. Indeed he was the US's leading points scorer with three out of five at the K Club.

It is just that the team ethos does not come naturally to him. In his changed circumstances I suspect he may find it easier to embrace the Ryder Cup more than he has done in the past.

Pavin's picks are as sensible and bold. The selection of Rickie Fowler is a real statement of intent. The 21-year-old will be expected to perform the role carried out to such great effect by Anthony Kim at Valhalla.

The precocity of youth can be the catalyst. Kim did it for Paul Azinger two years ago and Sergio Garcia performed the same role for Europe in successive matches after his debut in 1999.

Fowler took three out of four points for the US Walker Cup team at Royal County Down in 2007 and his two runners-up finishes in his rookie year are testament to his talent.

But he has been short of such form recently with a month of low finishes after tying for 14th at the Open in July.

Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson provide plenty of experience. Both are major winners and Cink has played in every Ryder Cup since 2002. Johnson won one-and-a-half points out of four in his only appearance to date, the 2006 clash at the K Club.

In being relatively short off the tee, the former Masters champion is an exception in this big-hitting American team.

The Celtic Manor rough is expected to be thick and lush by the first week of October and Europe's skipper Colin Montgomerie should be keen for the course set-up to put a premium on accuracy from the tee given the make-up of the visiting team.

Monty will also be delighted with the form being shown by so many of his team. Miguel Angel Jimenez's win at the weekend added to the list of recent victors that includes Edoardo Molinari, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher.

Luke Donald's runner-up finish in Massachusetts also bodes well, while Padraig Harrington will need to find some form in Europe over the next couple of weeks.

Europe now know they will be facing a stronger American team than seemed likely earlier in the year and the two line-ups appear very well matched.

Pavin has invested in the world number one and in the boldness of youth. Monty and co will have to work hard to keep make sure the value of those investments don't grow too rapidly in the first week of October.


  • Comment number 1.


    You wrote

    "and the prospect of doing so without being paid for the privilege doesn't sit easy with him either. It's an attitude of antipathy that can permeate through a team, especially when it comes from the player they most admire"

    Do you seriously think Woods sits in the locker room complaining about not getting paid, get real! I am assuming you can back this statement up. Seems you are clutching at straws a bit with you speculative post.

    And you say he thinks we overhype the Ryder cup.....

  • Comment number 2.

    I think too much is made of "team spirit" in the US Team. At the K Club, I think the US team spirit under Lehman was spot on. It's too easy to say that when the US lose that it's because Wodds was broody and as a result the "spirit" wasn't there.
    I don't think Azinger improved team spirit, he just put together a winning team who played super golf......................
    Wonder who he'll pair Woods with?. I'd love to see him with a Rookie like Dustin J or Bubba......................
    As for Europe, I hope Monty steers clear of a Molinari brothers partnership until Saturday at least while i would love to see a Westwood/McIlroy pairing leading out the Foursomes on Friday........

  • Comment number 3.

    Good picks from Pavin. Rickie Fowler could play a key part in the American team - I can see Mickelson and Fowler doing the business together in four and two ball!

    No surprises Woods is in the team, I think he will enjoy this Ryder Cup more than any other tournament this year due to the stresses of life in the last year.

    Everyone seems to think its a Euro walk over.......I've got a bad feeling it wont be anything like a walkover!!

  • Comment number 4.


    Yet again, the BBC's obession and Iain Carter's even greater obsession with Tiger Woods surfaces. It's been a tough old year for you, hasn't it, not being able to drool over Woods?

  • Comment number 5.

    Again Iain Carter can't help but have a dig at Tiger Woods. Could you please leave this phenomenal sportsman alone?? Tiger Woods is a fantastic player and the reason Europe has won more Ryder Cups in recent times is testament to Europe's great play rather than Woods not being a team player. How do you explain his strong record in the Presidents Cup including 5 points in the last competition. Also Woods' record in Ryder Cups stands up alongside virtually all of America's team in a time of European dominance. Please leave the guy alone. If you have nothing good to say about him, then don't write anything.

  • Comment number 6.

    Woods has always looked as if he enjoys the Ryder Cup as much as a visit to the dentist. He regards the match as over-hyped & an unnecessary distraction from his usual routines. Problem this year is that he is so desperate to rebuild his image that he is pretending he is actually looking forward to it. The one thing that might work in his favour this year is that as his status has declined, US team members should be less intimidated at the thought of partnering him, which I think partly explains his abysmal Ryder Cup record in fourballs & foursomes. I don't think comparisons with the President's Cup are really valid as that is a contrived, much more low key affair.

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 - I think that you've fallen into the trap of a media driven witch-hunt over Tiger Woods. When they failed to get him through his golf they got him for his Private Life.

    Make no mistake, Tiger is a patriot and always has been and as such the Ryder Cup is very important to him. Did anyone ever consider that maybe his playing partners have let him down? In singles he has a good record.

    I do agree that Tiger is closing in on good form and could be a big dangerman for Europe.....but what's new there...this is a non-story.

    The big stories are Harringtons pick and lack of form on the European side and Sean O'Hair, Lucas Glover and Nick Watneys reaction to Fowlers pick above them, especially Glover who is also a major champion.

  • Comment number 8.

    Considering he's only been back a few months after a 5 month absence and considering he's "rebuilding" his swing again and considering he reckons that could take a year or more to get right, he certainly is playing well.

    I agree with the above poster who suggests that this might be the period in time when the pressure due to his off-course exploits has been somewhat lifted. As soon as he announced that he would be available if selected, he put the pressure right back on himself but this is the kind of pressure he thrives best under, golf pressure. I'm thinking he'll have a very good Ryder cup where 'team' will certainly come before 'self'. Having said that, I think and hope that Europe wins it because bragging rights over here will be priceless.

  • Comment number 9.

    (7) - that's exactly what I said. His partners may have in the past been intimidated by the prospect of partnering Woods, but this may have lessened since he lost much of his aura of invincibility.

  • Comment number 10.

    It is easy to appreciate what Tiger Woods has done without appreciating how he has done it. You can be a fan of golf and not admire every breath Woods takes and therefore you do not share many commentators burning desire to find any excuse to talk about him. It is not offensive that they do this, merely dull and irritating.

    The Ryder Cup is entertaining and attracts attention from some that might not normally have much interest in golf, which is all well and good. This would happen whether Tiger Woods played or not, so a headline about someone who has not contributed significantly to this event in the past and whose current inconsistent form suggests claims he will do so this time are fanciful, is, therefore, not a good choice.

  • Comment number 11.

    Tiger's form is more than good enough to justify selection. A few bogies that destroy a strokeplay round dont matter in 4 balls, and singles play is a lottery on the day. Every player on either team is capable of shooting 62 or 75 on the day regardless of their form. His putting will be tested though, and it will be interesting to see if he makes the foursomes pairs, and who he plays with. The US team have traditionally liked to make sure everyone gets plenty of games, and not having to biro Tiger into the pairings will give Pavin a bit of extra flexibility.

    I think it will be a very tight Ryder Cup, after a couple of one-sided ones.

  • Comment number 12.

    Corey Pavin had a choice to leave out Woods? Please. The Ryder Cup is a commercial success. You try telling a sponsor that the Number One player in the world may not be there and that could mean a smaller TV audience for his/her brand. The event organisers would have had Pavin's throat. But I do agree on one thing. This may just be Woods' Ryder Cup. Winless all year but stunning Ryder Cup. The headlines write themselves. The sponsors and event organisers will be smiling, of course.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    end of the day woods has the right to be arrogant in golf terms,why should he be "advised" by losers like furyk etc or pavin the 1 hit wonder

  • Comment number 15.

    I disagree with the assertion that Woods is playing well. By his own standards he miles away from his own game. In the last two FedEx tournaments he has managed his game specifically to make the cut for the next tournament, which a player with his talent is capable of doing. However, if he has to really let go and shoot a low number, he is struggling with his control. His driving is just awful, and his approach shots erratic, his putting only average. He HAS scrambled very well and made a lot of pars, but pars will not win Ryder Cup matches.
    I was surprised by his inclusion, he will be an unnecessary distraction as he always is at the Ryder Cup, which is different to the Presidents Cup because of the European Press. Having said that I think Europe loses, because as good a some of those guys are, there are a lot of Sunday afternoon chokers in the team, and the singles will be lost handsomely.

  • Comment number 16.

    my god Tiger is winless this year, westwood went winless for four years, give it a rest soon very soon Tiger will be winning again

  • Comment number 17.

    Tiger's been picked on reputation alone but then so has Harrington. Had they been rookies producing the form they have been recently they'd have got nowhere near selection.

    I'm interested to see how all the rookies (eleven in all?) do this year and am hopeful that home advantage will secure a European win.

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh, so you now think that Tiger is a danger! A few months ago, you were so sure that Tiger was finished. This is why I have zero respect for journalists. They are the definition of free loaders. No responsibility, no evidence, no proof, no nothing, just say whatever comes to mind, throw a lot of mud and hope something sticks. I have no idea why the BBC hires such biased and unprofessional people. Or may be, that is what the BBC is all about. Sad.
    Your arguments a few months ago had no basis, and nor do they now.

  • Comment number 19.

    Tiger Woods being selected for the Ryder Cup team is not news.
    Pavin had no choice. The US media TV and sponsors demanded it.
    Like it or not Woods is bigger than golf. I personally don't feel Tiger
    will do that well again as he is not a team player at all. He simply is a money making machine that the US media and especially the golf channel has created. The other three wild card picks for the US are very good.

    Honest Pete, Montreal

  • Comment number 20.

    I think Tiger will do well. In the last few weeks he appears to be genuinely enjoying the company of other golfers. Since the breakdown of his marriage, I reckon he's having to re-evaluate and is more determined to enjoy his golf (obviously more so if he's playing well). Anyone who thinks that he's playing badly should look at his last 3 rounds at the Deutsche Bank. If he'd holed a few more putts...

  • Comment number 21.

    Paul Azinger said it best on his twitter account this week, 'its hard to argue anyone on or off the US Team, but Europe have 2 of their best sitting on the couch'.

    Now whether that's right or wrong is open to debate, but if this is how the US guys are thinking, the confidence it brings means their already ahead. I hope Tiger puts up a good show, I like watching the man in full flow but I fear for Padraig. Why would he add in a tournament before the Ryder cup unless he is worried about his game. We need boy that are sure, not worried about playing.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's good to see Tiger in the Ryder cup team (well "good" from the US viewpoint). I'm just sorry that Pavin didn't take a gamble on Anthony Kim as he would be capable of lighting up the tournament even if he hasn't been playing well since his hand surgery. I'm afraid that even without Kim the US team will be far too strong for Mrs. Doubtfires bunch of mis-fits and Europe could be heading for an embarrassingly large margin of defeat. Home advantage and the course/weather conditions in Wales may be the only things to save Europe from being closed out after just two days. I say this not as a newly converted US supporter but out of disappointment at Monty's arrogance and poor decision making throughout the year : harassing players to play European events or else he won't pick them; bad choices of vice captains; and of course absolutely terrible choices for captains picks . . . . he has already managed to make Woosie and Faldo look good !

    But back to the so called "struggling for form" Tiger, well he didn't do too badly last weekend, rounds of 72, 65, 69, 68 tied for 11th. The event played in Boston with hurricane Earle running up the coastline, perhaps the winds were on par with anything they will see in Wales. The only Ryder Cup players to finish ahead of Tiger were Steve Stricker and Luke Donald (and of course Padraig missed the cut !).

  • Comment number 23.

    #21 Rankis:
    It's almost as if the US media (of which Azinger is a sometime member) has been trained to knock the absence of Casey and Rose. One of the strengths of European Ryder Cup teams in the 80's and 90's was that the US rather dismissed European Tour players who didn't play over here (in the US). To their cost.
    Implied criticism of the European Tour players is the same sort of mindless ignorant nonsense turned into media propoganda. You'd've heard exactly the same sort of rhetoric if Harrington had not been picked.

  • Comment number 24.

    Of course the Casey/ Rose propaganda is mind games. That's fair enough, we should be pointing out the absence of a straight hitter as good as Glover or their inspiration from last time, kim. I'm happy for Woods to play with Stricker because Stricker's great in America but I can't recall him doing much after an ocean crossing. Harrington is a worry; I'd like to see him brush up on his German and fourball with Kaymer, but Jimenez, Fisher and Edoardo are playing so well as to be hard to leave out.

  • Comment number 25.

    #15 and #22, there's not really much backing behind your claims. European Ryder Cup players have won 21 times this year, including two majors. Real bottlers they are.

    And the only problem I have with the Ryder Cup selection was Harrington instead of Casey, Rose may have won twice earlier on in the year but his form has been quite patchy recently. Eduardo Molinari is playing as well as anyone on either team at the moment, he's upto 15th in the world rankings and is the better Molinari brother so it's more the system to blame rather than Monty's picks.

    And for doubters of the European Tour, European tour players have won the last three majors...

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Kwiniaskagolfer, completley agree this is mindgames, in fact I've read Azingers book 'Cracking the code' and this is right up his street, but that does not take away from the point, it seems to be working.

    Why would Padraig add in a Euro tournament at late notice unless he is searching for his game. The US drum beaters will latch onto this and drive it for all it's worth. That has to help them mentally, and in this game, that can be the difference.

    I hope Pod does well in this tourney and gets some momentum going as I fear a poor Ryder cup may leave some really deep mental scars.

  • Comment number 27.

    HA HA HA...Iain you say Tiger is upset at not being paid for the Ryder Cup. The man is worth over 2 Billion. Ya I'm sure he is in rage at not getting a hundred grand for the Ryder Cup :)

    Also why does the BBC media always want to rip Tiger apart over every little detail...over pay, over not being a team player and off course his affairs.

    Tiger Woods had a few affairs while he was married...and you would swear he blew up an orphanage for homeless kids. In the past year around 8 of ENGLAND'S NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM...have been found out to be having affairs with hookers or otherwise and that's 8 that were found many more are I wonder. Yet nothing has been said of this in the BBC sport news?? Some even had affairs with their team mates wife. Yet Iain Carter is obsessed with Tiger Woods' affairs.

    Do you expect this kind of behavior from English footballers? is that the reason no one seems to care that half the national team are cheaters and dreadful role models?? All of that is quickly swept under the carpet and accepted..yet poor ole Tiger had to make a world wide apology and is condemned everywhere he goes.

    The English media above all should be more sympathetic towards Tiger because the majority of English sporting hero's are doing the exact same!

  • Comment number 28.

    Hope Tiger Woods fails to live up to expectations


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.