Tiger Woods earns 82nd victory at ZOZO
Tiger Woods has squashed any concern about his potential as a captains pick for the Presidents Cup after a dominant and record tying win at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan.
"I think the player definitely got the captain's attention,” Woods said with a smile after taking out his 82nd PGA TOUR victory, tying him with Sam Snead for the most all-time.
Woods is the captain of the U.S. Team that will take on the Internationals in the biennial team competition at Royal Melbourne on Dec. 12-15 and while he did not secure one of eight automatic spots he now almost certainly will become just the second playing captain in the events history.
Woods will add four players to his side the week after the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions with the help of his assistant captains and the eight players already secured on the team. To argue against Woods as one of the four would be a brave move.
And not particularly smart if you ask Gary Woodland, the current U.S. Open champion who is also hoping for a pick and who played with Woods over the final two rounds in Japan.
“If he doesn’t (pick himself) that’s dumb because right now it is hard to bet against that guy in anything, especially in match play,” Woodland said.
“He’s going to have a force whether he is playing or not but I would pick him.”
The only previous playing captain was Hale Irwin in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994. Irwin won the RBC Heritage in April that year. Woods won the Masters in April this year and has now added this 82nd career win.
The doubt around Woods being in Australia in a playing capacity centered around the fact he had a fifth knee surgery two months ago and had played relatively poor golf after his Masters triumph. Add the fact he has had four back surgeries over his career amongst other injuries and some were worried about his fitness.
There are no such worries now. The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP was his first start of the 2019-20 season and clearly he is fit enough to handle a spot in the team. Woods had to play 29 holes in a marathon Sunday thanks to weather issues and did it in stride.
As a player in the Presidents Cup he would only be required to play one team session and singles but could play up to all five sessions if desired.
“Physically, I can't do any of the things I used to do. That's just the way it is. Four back surgeries and my body just can't do what it used to do, but I can certainly think my way around the golf course,” Woods said.
“The knee didn't allow me to rotate, and because of that it put more stress on my lower back and my hip. Now I'm able to clear a little bit better, I feel better, I'm able to hit shots that I know I can hit and this week was a good sign for the future.”
Woods has played on eight previous Presidents Cup teams, the last in 2013, and has a 24-15-1 record. He was a member on the 1998 and 2011 teams that also played at Royal Melbourne.
Woods also secured the clinching point for the U.S. team in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 Presidents Cups.