Tiger Woods named as vice captain for Ryder Cup in France

Tiger Woods still hopes to play in the Ryder Cup. Picture: Ryan Kang/AP
Tiger Woods still hopes to play in the Ryder Cup. Picture: Ryan Kang/AP
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Tiger Woods has been named as one of Jim Furyk’s assistant captains for this year’s Ryder Cup, but the former world 
No 1 is still targeting a playing role in Paris.

Woods was confirmed along with Steve Stricker as additions to Furyk’s backroom team, the pair joining Davis Love III, who was appointed last January.

Love had Woods, who was out injured at the time, as one of his right-hand men as the Americans won the 2016 match at Hazeltine and the 14-time major champion is ready and willing to fill the same role again.

“My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do what I can to help us keep the Cup,” said Woods. “I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”

Woods has made just two PGA Tour starts since his comeback after a lengthy spell on the sidelines following a fourth back operation.

He produced an encouraging performance in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, but was still struggling to shake off rust as he missed the cut in the 
Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles last week.

Explaining his decision to announce the seven-time Ryder Cup player as one of his assistants for the match at Le Golf National, Furyk said: “First of all, his part in this process, staring with task force (that was set up following a heavy defeat at Gleneagles in 2014) and now being on the Ryder Cup committee.

“Tiger is arguably one of the best players of all time and he brought great knowledge to the table in terms of pairings (at Hazeltine).

“If you look at our team room and the younger players in it, a lot of them fell in love with golf because of Tiger Woods and they wanted to emulate him and play against him.

“To have him being that humble guy in the team room helping and serving means a lot. He’s been a huge asset for captains (both in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup) in the last few years.”

Asked if the US team would be better served having Woods as a player or assistant captain if he was close to automatic qualification, Furyk added: “We will cross that bridge if it needs to be crossed.”

Stricker served as an assistant captain in both 2014 and 2016 before leading the US to a thumping win in the Presidents Cup last year. “The players depend and rely on him,” said Furyk of Stricker. “He’s not a cheerleader in 
the lockeroom but when he speaks everyone listens.”

“The deep appreciation they both have for competition, the concept of team, and the Ryder Cup is infectious. Their knowledge and experience will be an invaluable resource in our effort to retain the Ryder Cup.”

Furyk, who is bidding to lead the US to victory on European soil for the first time since 1993, will name additional vice captains at a later date.