Butch Harmon, the leading golf coach, has added his voice to the debate about Tiger Woods’ role as a Ryder Cup vice-captain, insisting the former world No 1 will be a “great asset” to Team USA at Hazeltine this week.
Lee Westwood, who is making his tenth successive appearance for Europe, has claimed that the presence of Woods in the home team room in Minnesota could have an “adverse effect”, while 1995 winning captain Bernard Gallacher believes his role is a “red herring”.
“I read that Lee Westwood had said he felt it might be a distraction having Tiger in the team room, but I think it’s the other way around,” insisted Harmon, who coached Woods at the height of his dominance of the sport.
“For me, he’s the greatest golfer who’s lived and knowing how much the guys respect him, I think he will be a great asset for the US team.”
Harmon revealed he had received an insight into the commitment Woods is putting into the role given to him by home captain Davis Love when a number of the US players had a get-together at Hazeltine last Monday.
“He actually called when we were having dinner and Steve Stricker [another of the US vice-captains] had to leave the room and chat with him for 40 minutes,” said Harmon, who will be part of the Sky Sports commentary team for the 41st biennial contest, which starts on Friday.
“He has been so engaged with this and I find it really interesting that he is more engaged now than he was when he was playing on Ryder Cup teams.
“He is such an individual as a player, but he has really taken this role as a vice-captain and got into it.
“He has all the statistics, pairings etc and it has been fun to hear what the guys have been saying and it will be fun to watch him get involved.
“He’s been texting all the guys, so he’s 100 per cent committed, that’s for sure.
“I don’t know if he can help the US players become intimidating like him, as you have to do that with your game. But just having Tiger in the team room and the guys having the ability to talk to him will be helpful.”