Tiger Woods was last night named as a vice-captain for next year’s Ryder Cup but insisted the appointment doesn’t mean he’s given up hope of playing at Hazeltine.
Davis Love III, the US captain, added Woods to his backroom team for the match in Minnesota in September along with Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.
The appointment comes as Woods recovers from more back surgery that has ruled him out from making a return until next year at the earliest.
“I’d like to thank Davis for his confidence in me and for my selection as a Ryder Cup vice-captain,” said the 14-times major winner. “This is something I want to do.
“I will continue to do whatever I can to help win the Cup back,” he added.
“Once I’m fully healthy, I’d like to try to make the team, too, but either way, I’m very excited to work with Davis, the other vice-captains and the players to get a US victory.”
Woods has played in seven Ryder Cups but only been on a winning team once – at Brookline in 1999.
“He doesn’t want to be the general sitting in the room, he wants to be in the battle,” said Love of the former world No 1.
“Tiger has said: ‘I want to make the team and I want to be a vice-captain.’ He wants to be a playing assistant.”
Love, the losing captain at Medinah in 2012, was re-appointed as US captain by the taskforce set up in the wake of last September’s defeat at Gleneagles.
He immediately appointed Tom Lehman, a Minnesota man, as his first vice-captain and has now added three more with a fifth to follow.
“To welcome four vice-captains of this calibre is a giant first step towards preparing the 2016 team for success,” said Love.
Speaking on the eve of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic at Sea Island, Georgia, Love, the 1997 US PGA Championship winner, added: “Tom, Jim, Steve and Tiger have over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences that they are eager to share.
“They’ll also be my eyes and ears from event to event next year on Tour.
“That’s invaluable and, as captain, I am grateful for their commitment, dedication and passion to win.”
The latest appointments met with the approval of Billy Horschel, who just missed out on Tom Watson’s team for Gleneagles.
“Three great vice-captain choices!” he wrote on Twitter. “Going to do everything I can to be a part of this team! #Team USA”
Europe, who will have Darren Clarke steering the ship at Hazeltine, have won eight of the last ten matches.