United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk believes a “humble” Tiger Woods will again prove his worth off the course after naming the 14-time major winner and Steve Stricker as vice-captains for this year’s contest in Paris.
Woods has not featured as a player since collecting just half a point from four matches in 2012, when Europe came back from 10-6 down on the final day in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.
However, the former world number one enjoyed a successful debut as an assistant at Hazeltine in 2016 and will fill the same role at Le Golf National from September 28-30.
Woods also said last week he would relish a dual role as player and vice-captain and, speaking via a video message on Tuesday, the 42-year-old added: “The Ryder Cup is incredibly special to me. I am thankful to once again serve as a Ryder Cup vice-captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship, and support.
“My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do whatever I can to help us keep the cup. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”
Furyk believes Woods will be a valuable asset in Paris, particularly if a number of younger players who grew up idolising the 14-time major winner again make the team.
He said: “When you look at that team room (at Hazeltine), a lot of them became professional golfers because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods, so to have him in that team room, being that humble guy who is ready to serve means a lot.”
Asked if Woods would be better as a player or vice-captain – if he failed to qualify but had played well during his latest comeback from injury – Furyk added: “I’d like to do what’s best for Tiger.
“I want to do what’s best for the team and that would be a bridge that we would cross when we got there.
"If he can be valuable as a player I’m sure we’d want him playing on this team, but there’s so much time to go. I’m anxious to see how he plays and we’ll do what’s best for him and the team.”
Woods has only featured in one winning Ryder Cup side as a player and was often accused of not caring enough about a team competition compared to his individual achievements.
“I’m assuming that was a perception,” Furyk added. “I saw the fire, how excited he was to play alongside him as a team-mate, as a partner in foursomes and fourball matches.”
Woods and Stricker, who join Davis Love in Furyk’s backroom staff, lost all three of their matches together at Hazeltine, with Stricker’s defeat to Martin Kaymer in the singles then ensuring Europe would retain the trophy.