KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – U.S. captain Steve Stricker said Wednesday it was too early to commit to Tiger Woods being at the Ryder Cup in September.
Whether or not Woods will travel to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin as an assistant captain, his presence will be a part of the red, white and blue charges.
“I’ve talked to him. He’s still got a lot going on and his spirits are great,” Stricker said at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, home to the 103rd PGA Championship. “We were on a Zoom call with him just this last week and he seems like he’s in a better place. Like I said, though, he’s still got some ways to go.
“I’d love to have him there. Who wouldn’t, right? The guys really respect him, and he did a great job obviously as a captain (for the 2019 Presidents Cup), and he was an assistant captain of mine in 2017 at the Presidents Cup and he was unbelievable. He would do anything for you and he’s totally, totally vested in the situation and the process and almost to the point of he’s on it early and so much, it’s like, dude, we’ve still got months to go yet.”
Woods is continuing his recovery at his Florida home following a single-car crash in February that left him with severe injuries to his right leg, ankle and foot. In recent photos, Woods had a cast on his lower right leg.
Stricker said Woods told him that whether or not he could be at Whistling Straits, he could lean on Woods for all things Ryder Cup.
“That shows his level of commitment to me, to the team, and his desire to be there if he can be,” said Stricker, who earlier this year chose Davis Love III, Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk to be vice captains. “As an assistant captain, it’s almost like he’s taken it up a notch. He can worry about the whole team where, when he’s a player, he’s just thinking about getting his own game ready so he can get those blinders on a little bit. But as an assistant captain, he is all-in with everybody and the players love it.
“They love being around him and he adds a tremendous amount when he is there.”
As for Stricker, he’s been playing well on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions and is getting to know players who could be on the team.
“A lot of it now is watching players and see how they are doing during tournaments and playing practice rounds with some of these guys,” Stricker said. “I played with Will Zalatoris Monday and Jordan (Spieth) yesterday. So it’s a great opportunity for me to come out and see some of these guys that are making their way up the points list. Played with Collin Morikawa earlier in the year.
“So I’m taking this opportunity, this extra time to get to know these guys. A lot of the prep is done. It’s just about watching these players and watching the point list and seeing how they are doing, how they are playing.”
Stricker also announced that the format for the Ryder Cup will remain status quo – foursomes in the morning Friday and Saturday, four-balls in the afternoon on Friday and Saturday.
As for the course, Stricker has visited Pete Dye’s layout overlooking Lake Michigan multiple times.
“We’ve made some tweaks, and I’m sure everybody knows what they are going to be. I’m not going to get into that part of it,” he said. “We did some things to kind of enhance the benefit towards our side just like they do when we go over to Europe and play their side. So it’s minor little things. It’s not going to change the way the course plays dramatically.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/19/ryder-cup-steve-stricker-captain-tiger-woods-whistling-straits/