Okay, so The Presidents Cup is 110 days away, but the selection for the U.S. President’s Cup team is almost upon us. There are only seven tournament left before Captain Fred Couples has to make a decision on his two Captains picks.
The U.S. team, if selected today, would include Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan Jim Furyk, David Toms and Bo Van Pelt off of his good play last week in Canada.
You notice the name Tiger Woods is absent from the list.
Woods is 25th and would require a Tigeresque performance to make the team on points, which, considering no one knows when Woods is returning to competitive golf, is a big stretch.
So then you look at Couples’ two Captain’s picks. Who is better than Woods? Of course the Woods of old was better than most any of the guys on the team, with some exceptions, but we’re talking about the new Woods, the one we know little about. Would taking him be better than taking Mark Wilson who has won two times on Tour this year, or Gary Woodland or Lucas Glover, who have both posted impressive wins and played solidly in 2011?
“If he’s not ready to play, he’ll be the one to tell me,” Couples said at Memorial two months ago. Woods would be the one to decide if he could play or not.
Couples went onto say that Woods doesn’t have to prove anything to any Captain.
“If I tell you today that if he just plays fairly well I’m going to pick him, I can’t imagine that’s the dumbest thing anyone has ever said” Couples continued. “And if I sit here and say, if he continues to play like he is, in my mind he will be the guy to say, ‘no reason to take me over there.’ He’s not a difficult guy at all.”
Couples is clearly sold on the need to have Woods part of the team, if available. But how do you explain to the guys who played all of 2011 and worked to get on the team, that Woods, who may or may not be himself, is ahead of them on my list?
That’s why they pay the Captains the big bucks.
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.