FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Greg Norman doesn’t think much of the way Tiger Woods plays golf these days, saying he wouldn’t have picked him to play in the Presidents Cup.
Norman, who in a recent magazine interview said he didn’t think Woods will win another major, told the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press that PGA champion Keegan Bradley would have been a more logical choice for U.S. captain Fred Couples.
Norman is the International team captain for the Presidents Cup, to be played Nov. 17-20 at Royal Melbourne.
“I can understand the name of a Tiger Woods and his history of what he’s done on the golf course,” Norman said. “But I pick the guys who I think are ready to get in there and play and have performed to the highest levels leading up to it.”
Couples said a month before announcing his picks that one of them would be Woods, saying he was the “best player forever.” Woods hasn’t won in the last two years and has fallen out of the top 50 for the first time since he was a 20-year-old rookie in 1996. Couples also picked FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas.
Couples said Bradley would be added to the team if Steve Stricker’s neck injury prevents him from playing.
Couples, who won on the Champions Tour in San Antonio, stood by his selection Sunday afternoon while dropping subtle hints that he could also question Norman’s selections.
“I have no problem with Greg. He can say whatever he wants, but I’m not really into that. I play golf with my clubs,” Couples said after his seven-shot win. “Robert Allenby is his pick, and Aaron Baddeley, and they’re Australians and I think they’re great picks. But I think I can sit here and say Robert Allenby hasn’t won a tournament in 10 years.”
Allenby’s last PGA Tour win was 10 years ago in the Pennsylvania Classic, although he has seven wins since then, including Australian’s Triple Crown – the Masters, PGA and Open – in 2005.
“The truth is, Tiger Woods is the greatest or the second-greatest player to ever play, and he’s going to be down in Australia, and I hope he plays up to his capabilities,” Couples said. “But I think Tiger is used to getting picked on, and it’s irrelevant to me.”
Norman made his comments Saturday while promoting his Shark Shootout tournament at Tiburon Golf Club. Bradley is part of the 24-man field in the Shark Shootout, and Norman said he felt bad that the 25-year-old rookie was not part of the U.S. team.
“If I was in his shoes, I would feel like I got gut-checked a little bit,” Norman said. “He’s a young guy. He likes the Presidents Cup. He loves the idea of playing for his country, and he’s not. So I feel for him.”
Woods played for the first time in nearly two months at the Frys.com Open last week and tied for 30th.
“I just don’t think he’s swinging the golf club the way he used to when he won all those major championships,” Norman said. “He’s a different player out there nowadays. He even looks tied up. He looks more confined. I know what it takes to have freedom in a golf swing and I just don’t think he’s technically in the right position to do what he used to do.”
Norman’s comments are sure to add some spice to the Presidents Cup, which the Americans have lost one only time – in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. That year, Woods played Norman in singles and won on the 18th hole.