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Tiger Woods will be a part of the 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup team when the Americans look to retain the cup in Rome later this year. The question is whether or not he’ll be a member of the team as a vice-captain, a player, or perhaps both.
Zach Johnson, who will captain the Americans this Fall, spoke about the possibility of Woods making the Cup team as a player ahead of this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii.
Johnson didn’t rule out the possibility. He laid out two key things that must happen for the big cat to have a shot at teeing it up for the U.S.
“I would only contemplate having him on the team if he was putting up some numbers and some scores. No.1, showing some sign of being competitive,” Johnson explained.
“And then No.2, that discussion would be had with the other guys that are a part of that team, and specifically him. If there is anything I trust in Tiger Woods, is that he’s extremely invested in this team and the future Cups. Extremely invested. I can’t speak that enough.”
Tiger’s Health Will Dictate
Putting up some scores, as Johnson said, may be difficult for Woods given his latest health update.
Woods explained in December that he had developed plantar fasciitis and that, at least for the time being, can’t walk.
“I like playing, I like competing. But unfortunately, I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want. I just can’t walk,” Woods said late last year. “I can hit golf balls, it’s the walking that just hurts.”
Woods is hopeful he can play in all four major championships in 2023. And unless he put himself in contention in at least two of them it’s hard to imagine Johnson picking Woods with one of his captain’s picks this Fall.
Nevertheless, Johnson is confident that Woods will be upfront and honest about his health in the lead-up to the biannual event.
“I think he would do anything and everything for the betterment of the team,” Johnson said. ” I assume he would say, I don’t like basing on assumptions. But I’m confident that he would say, yeah, I can play, or no, I can’t, if that makes sense.”
We’re still eight months away from the start of the Ryder Cup, and this conversation about Woods and other potential players making the team will only intensify from here on out.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris