Tiger Woods might be on the sidelines for the upcoming Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, but the American captain, Davis Love III, is still expecting the 14-time major winner to have a major impact on the competition.
Woods, a seven-time Ryder Cupper who is 13-17-3 in 33 Ryder Cup matches, will serve as a vice captain alongside Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk at Hazeltine in September, and in the latest installment of The American Captain, Davis Love III said Woods has been a key element of the new strategy for wresting the Ryder Cup from the Europeans.
“Tiger was on the Task Force, he’ll be a future Captain, so he’s got to be a part of the decision-making process of this whole new Ryder Cup committee,” Love said. “Tiger is more interested in the strategy side of it — rounding out the team with picks, or making small groups, making pairings. He’s our tactician more than anything.”
After the Americans lost their third-straight Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, the PGA of America launched the Ryder Cup Task Force to revamp the way the Americans prepare for the biennial competition. Love, who also captained the losing 2012 squad at Medinah, said he can already see those changes having an effect.
“In 2014, we changed the process,” said Love. “Internally, you can’t see what we’ve been doing for the last year and a half, but internally it’s a different culture. In the past, it was ‘Davis brings his buddies to be assistant captains.’ Now, we tell the Captain, ‘Here’s your choices. It’s past Captains and future Captains. We’re going to have experience surround you this time.'”
The biggest difference, according to Love, is that this year’s Ryder Cup team is, well, a team.
“We have an analytics guys hired this year, we have a doctor hired this year,” Love said. “We have a team now instead of, ‘We’re all going to meet in September and figure it out.'”