‘Tiger loves the Ryder Cup… he will be a part of US team in some capacity’: Captain Zach Johnson confirms Woods will form a key part of American efforts to win their first away tie in 30 years
- Woods will be part of the US Ryder Cup team even if he can’t make it to Rome
- He has had to battle back from a serious leg injury suffered in a car crash in 2021
- European captain Luke Donald convinced his team will be ‘underdogs’ next year
For all the talk of the big names who won’t be at the next Ryder Cup, the involvement of a figure who towers above all others is assured. Tiger Woods will play a role, according to the US captain Zach Johnson.
The capacity of his involvement is yet to be determined, and from there only an incurable optimist would wager on Woods having sufficient form or fitness to swing clubs and compete.
But speaking on Tuesday in Rome, one year out from the biennial match, Johnson was adamant the 15-time major winner will form a key part of the American efforts to win their first away tie in 30 years.
Tiger Woods will be part of the US Ryder Cup team next year even if he can’t make it to Rome
‘He will be a part of this team in some capacity – he already is, frankly,’ said Johnson. ‘I can’t put this mildly: he loves the Ryder Cup. He has made it a priority. He’s gone through some things as of late that make it difficult. But he wants to be a part of it as best he can.
‘He’s very much going to be relied upon. He is very calculated when it comes to these team events – he puts a lot of energy and effort into them, whether it’s phone calls, FaceTime, or just text messages for those he hasn’t been at.
‘I remember in 2016 when he was the vice captain and he fully embraced his role. I will rely upon him, and not only myself but some of the players. He’s very much a part of Team USA. He is extremely passionate about the Ryder Cup, and it shows in a number of different ways.’
European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald (right) with US captain Zach Johnson in Rome
Appearing with Johnson at their first joint press conference, European captain Luke Donald is convinced his team will be ‘underdogs’, despite not losing at home since 1993. It is also clear that the defections to LIV, led by Dustin Johnson, have had a harder impact on the Americans.
But Donald said: ‘The US have never had a stronger team in the average world rankings. They gave us a pretty good hiding last year at Whistling Straits and seemed very solid again in The Presidents Cup (win over the Internationals last month). I think always on paper they seem stronger.
‘I’m not saying it’s a foregone conclusion, because I have every optimism that we’ll have a good chance to win, but I still think we will be underdogs.’