Tiger Should Pull Out of Presidents Cup

(published October 10, 2011)

I am of two minds regarding Tiger Woods and the Presidents Cup.  They met over a few pints of Omega-3 to discuss.

So Tiger came back to the Tour this past week.

Yes, I may have heard something about that.

The work with Sean Foley seems to be paying off.  I thought he looked good.


Sure.  Those back-to-back 68s on Friday and Saturday, when he hit 14 greens each day.  His putting needs work, but that will come around.


You’re skeptical?  He says he’s neglected his putting because of all the work he’s been doing on his full swing.

I’m not sure that’s how it works.  Once your putting gets shaky, it stays shaky; it doesn’t suddenly get better under pressure.  If practice were all it took to fix a professional’s putting problems, Sergio Garcia would have four or five majors.

He says he’s really close.  He got to within three shots of the lead on Saturday.  He just needs more reps.

Of course he thinks he’s close.  It’s not in his nature to say there’s something he can’t do.  It’s what made him so great, but it also makes him an unreliable source on the subject of his progress.

He’s always been concerned about missing shots to the left, and his swing tweaks have usually been designed to prevent that.  Yet he missed a lot to the left last week, and hit only six fairways each on Friday and Saturday.

You weren’t impressed with his results this weekend?

It’s the Frys.com Open.  It’s a Fall Series event, the part of the schedule devoted to players who are fighting to keep their Tour cards.    Of the 24 players who’ll be on the Presidents Cup teams, two showed up at CordeValle:  Woods and Ernie Els.  Of the top 50 players in the world rankings, three played: Els (ranked 45th), Paul Casey (20th), and Louis Oosthuizen (49th).

As for pulling to within three shots of the lead, he went out well ahead of the leaders on Saturday, playing a course that isn’t exactly Oakmont.  And Kelly Tilghman didn’t bother to mention that the back nine of CordeValle contains six of the eight easiest holes on the course (through three rounds).  Woods made some birdies, but the leaderboard was certain to climb past him as the day went on.  The same, of course, is true of his early rise to the top 10 on Sunday.

Ignoring the opening round when he shot 73 – but really, why should we? – Tiger’s 68-68–136 total for Friday/Saturday was matched or beaten by 27 players in the field.  Those players include fifteen guys – fifteen – not ranked among the top 300 in the world.

Your bottom line then is…

Tiger Woods should call Fred Couples, thank him for the honor and faith shown him by his captain’s selection to the U.S. team, and respectfully withdraw.  He may be ready to retake his place atop the golfing world next season, but right now he’s only good enough to finish tied for 30th over four days against a very weak field.

Hold it one second.  You’ve had all the best of the argument so far –

Logic will do that.

But remember, we’re talking about the Presidents Cup, ok?  It’s not the Tour Championship that you can only earn your way into.  It’s not the Ryder Cup, with a history going back to the 1920s.  It’s a made-for-TV event, silly season with flags.

You don’t think pride is at stake in the Presidents Cup?

Whose pride?  Players from South Africa, Australia, Korea, and Japan upholding the honor of – whom exactly?  “Them?”  By definition, the International team consists of representatives of those nations ineligible for the Ryder Cup.  There’s a great rallying cry: “Let’s Go, None of the Above!”  Why do you think Norman chose two Aussies with his captain’s picks?  The home crowd at Royal Melbourne needs a reason to show up and cheer.

A lot of great players never got to participate in the Ryder Cup: Gary Player, Greg Norman, Vijay Singh, Nick Price…

Don’t forget Mike Weir.  Canada certainly fits into the profile of “otherness.”  The thing’s been around for eighteen years now.  What are your favorite Presidents Cup moments?

Well… um… you mentioned Weir – how about his win over Tiger at Royal Montreal?

A great match that kept the Internationals from losing by six instead of five.

Those putts by Els and Woods in the dark on the extra holes in South Africa in 2003.

Followed by extended phone calls with the commissioners before declaring the matches a tie.  Couldn’t ask the players to delay their flights home for one day to decide a major international competition.

I see your point.

And I see yours.  In a perfect world, watching the best do their thing would be enough.  In that world, Carey Mulligan would be vastly more famous than Kim Kardashian.  And nine out of ten Americans would know that Webb Simpson is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year instead of thinking it’s O.J.’s Internet site.

Doesn’t everybody say they’re tired of reading and hearing about Tiger Woods?

Yeah, and they keep reading and listening and watching.  How much attention did you give the Frys.com Open last year?

They had one last year?

Anyone who says they prefer the Fall Series – because the players “really care” — to the big-name events is lying.  Stars draw attention.  We’ll pay more attention to the Presidents Cup if Tiger is there.  We wouldn’t hoist a couple of Omega-3s and argue about Matt Kuchar, would we?

Speaking of which, you’re running low.  Another round?  And is there something we can agree on?

Sure.  It would be nice if Tiger voluntarily withdrew and gave his spot to the very deserving PGA champion Keegan Bradley. The chance to represent your country shouldn’t be a Lifetime Achievement Award.   Since he’ll never do that, we can at least look forward to watching Royal Melbourne.

Great course.  Wonderful place.  Did you know they let you roll your “trolley” (pull-cart) right across the greens?

I was there when you were, buddy.








Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)