The infamous Tiger Woods had a tough run yesterday after his win at the PGA Tour Championship with a jarring reminder of his Ryder Cup record.
Played seven, won one.
After his comeback performance in Atlanta, Woods restored to the status of golfing immortal, but his past record at this competition isn’t one to brag about though.
The last time Woods tasted victory in a Ryder Cup was in the last century and he has never done so on European soil. Welcome to France, Tiger.
“It certainly is, looking back on my entire Ryder Cup career, not something that I have really enjoyed and I’ve really liked seeing,” said Woods.
“I’ve played a lot of the matches. Of those seven previous Ryder Cups, I’ve sat out one session, and that was the last session at Medinah. Otherwise, I’ve played every single match. We haven’t done well.
“I was a vice-captain in 2016 when we won and it was neat to be part of the team, but as a player it’s different and my overall Ryder Cup record, not having won as a player since 1999, is something that hopefully we can change.
“We haven’t won as a US squad here in 25 years on foreign soil, so hopefully that will change this week as well.”
Woods’ analysis of the failures revolve around Europe dominating the moments that have mattered.
“I remember being a part of some of the Presidents Cup teams that Jack [Nicklaus] captained,” said Woods.
“He said, ‘It’s plain and simple – who wins the 18th hole?’
The matches are very tight, and usually who plays the last hole well determines the cup. These little half-points to point swings are enormous over the course of the entire cup.
“The teams that I’ve been a part of in the Presidents Cup wins have handled the 18th hole well. In the Ryder Cup, we haven’t.”
That collective simplification overlooks his own part at the centre of matters. As he notes, Woods has been a near ever-present on the course during his Ryder Cup career. He has only lost one singles match in all that time.
The problem has been successfully pairing him with anyone. He has lost twice as many foursomes matches – eight – as he has won and his record in fourballs is scarcely any better with five wins and eight defeats.
Woods’ team-mates seem to have been more intimidated by his presence than any European.
So who for the hot seat beside him this time? A playful hand went up yesterday from Phil Mickelson.
“I think we would both welcome it,” he said. Given the last time he teamed up with Woods at Oakland Hills in 2004 was an oil-and-water calamity that is the longest of shots.
US captain Jim Furyk’s thinking appears to revolve around linking him with rookie Bryson DeChambeau this time around.
“It would be awesome to play with him. Is it going to happen? We’re still working on it,” said DeChambeau.
Woods, as almost a father figure to the young bucks in the US team, is much more approachable these days and allows the iron man mask to slip more often, but he is still Tiger. Yesterday, in the continuing afterglow of his win, he could not resist a parting shot at the kids.
“The younger guys were on their way in when I was on my way out. They had never really played against me when I was playing well. It had been five years since I’ve won a golf tournament,” said Woods.
“They have jokingly been saying: ‘We want to go against you’. All right. Here you go…”