by Jeff Skinner
As the PGA Tour steams into August and heads to the FedEx Cup Playoffs two questions dominate the golf conversation. Will Tiger Woods make the playoffs? And will Tom Watson make Tiger a captain’s pick.
Tiger hasn’t shown anything this season, either pre or post surgery and currently sits at number 215 on the FedEx Cup Points list well outside the top 150 that qualify for the playoffs. At the same time he is 70th on the Ryder Cup Points list.
Let’s just say Tiger needs to make something happen and quick if he is to tee it up for the playoffs. According to the number crunchers he needs to average a third place finish over this week’s WGC Bridgestone and next week’s PGA Championship to qualify for The Barclays.
He certainly has the track record to do it he’s an eight time WGC Bridgestone winner, four time PGA champ with one of them at this year’s venue, Valhalla Golf Course.
If Tiger doesn’t play well in the next two weeks he still could play at the Wyndham Championship to try and garner more FedEx Cup points but that would be out of character him.
Captain Watson badly needs Woods to “show him something” as he has said. A win at either the WGC or PGA would clinch the playoffs and probably a spot on the Ryder Cup. But he hasn’t shown anything close to a winning golf game all year.So here is the conundrum Watson could face come Sunday at the PGA when the Ryder Cup qualification period ends.
Tiger could qualify for the FedEx Cup and maybe make it into the Deutsche Bank and that might be enough for Watson to tab him.
He could somehow find a way to win and take much of the burden off of Watson. After all, the greatest player of his generation right off a win would be a no-brainer.
But here’s the hard part: Woods doesn’t win, continues his less than mediocre play and is left outside the playoffs. There Watson would be faced with a difficult choice: leave Woods off the team or go out on a limb for Woods.
No playoffs mean Woods would be idle for six weeks going into the Ryder Cup. How can Watson be expected to select a golfer that had no game all year and then has spent the past month and a half not playing competitive golf? I don’t think he can.
If that happens and Watson goes against many popular and prominent voices that say Tiger is a must pick, he’ll certainly take some flack but that’s the right call.
Here’s an odd and unlikely scenario. If Woods plays poorly the next two weeks and misses the playoffs and shows no sign of capturing that elusive game of his could he actually opt out of the Ryder Cup?
Maybe a private call to the captain to say, “Cap’ for the good of the team don’t pick me. My game isn’t there. Good luck.” Do you think that could ever happen?
I don’t think Woods could ever suppress his ego long enough to dial the phone no less utter those words. But that would be the noble thing to do.
Watson is his own man for sure and he’ll make the tough decision no matter the consequences but Woods needs to do one of two things for the “good of the team.”
Either play better golf, much better golf to give Watson a reason to select him or graciously opt out of the Ryder Cup.
Yea, like that would ever happen.