Woods wins back critics and welcomes new fans

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Tiger Woods ended a five-year title drought by winning the Tour Championship recently. Attention has since turned to his Ryder Cup campaign.

His last seven appearances in the match-play showdown have brought just one win. The United States, indeed, have not won the Ryder Cup on European soil in more than two decades. The Americans are the market favourites, regardless.

Tiger says

“We haven’t done well. 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,” said Woods.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be an awesome environment. There’s a lot of nerves. It’s excitement. I mean, it really is. It’s something we don’t get to experience in that regard because basically it’s the final round of a tournament on the very first hole and every match you tee it up. It’s a different atmosphere and one that we absolutely love.”

Perfect pairing?

The talented Bryson DeChambeau might be afforded the chance to partner Woods at the Ryder Cup.

DeChambeau has been dubbed ‘The mad scientist’ due to an innovative approach to the game, but will need to marry this with traditionalism if paired with Woods by captain Jim Furyk.

Furyk has been tipped to combine the two for Friday’s foursomes – and fourballs.

“It would be awesome to play with him. Is it going to happen? We’re still working on it. We’re still trying to figure out who is going to best fit with each other, not me personally but for everyone that’s going out that day,” said DeChambeau.

“He’s striking it so solidly that nobody that has played with him was surprised he won and now that first win is out of the way, I think he’s going to start rattling off some more.”

This Betway blog by Jack Green and infographic all but insists Woods and DeChambeau would be the right fit in France.

For the Europeans, history suggests being bold and forming new duos is the right way to go.

And don’t forget the opposition

Open champion Francesco Molinari would relish a tussle with Woods.

The American lost to the Italian at Carnoustie earlier this year, despite a brief lead on the back nine.

“I don’t know if I’ll draw him again this week. I’ll do my best like I always do, and he’s obviously in great form. It was nice to see him winning last week. I think he really deserved it after the season he’s had. But this week, it’s a different story, and in 18 holes, anything can happen. So if I do face him, I’ll do my best to get something out of it,” said Molinari.

Nicklaus on the future

Meanwhile, the veteran Jack Nicklaus reckons Woods has a chance of eventually clinching a record-breaking 19 major championships. Nicklaus gathered 19 during a prolific career, while Woods’ 14th arrived 10 years ago – and we haven’t seen once since amid a slew of personal problems and back injuries.

“With today’s equipment, and the way the guys take care of themselves, I think they could play well into their 50s. Maybe Tiger’s got another 40 majors to play. Out of 40 majors can he win five of them, I don’t know? He’s playing well enough. It depends how much he wants to work at it, how interested he is, and how long he wants to make a commitment to do that,” he said.

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