So this was Davis Love III’s first crisis as U.S. Ryder Cup captain: What to do with Tiger Woods? But the solution was pretty much what you’d expect.
After an awful morning round to start the Ryder Cup — by anyone’s standards, not just the former world No. 1′s — Woods was back out for the afternoon fourballs session with his partner, Steve Stricker. And sure enough, he rolled in a birdie putt to win the first hole for the Americans.
Still, his swing is clearly out of whack — again — and it’s a wonder he hasn’t killed someone with his wayward drives thus far. Trees, fences, even another spectator all took their lumps as Woods’ scatter-shot play — with a little help from Stricker — resulted in a 2-and-1 loss in foursomes to Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. Surely, he’d be benched for the afternoon, many thought. (Others, like myself, assume he’ll sit out the Saturday foursomes — it’s just not his game, as he showed again here at Medinah.)
“We considered it,” Love admitted, before saying he didn’t, in part, because “I had some good inside information.”
According to at least one outsider, he didn’t really need any, though.
“Yeah, but he’s Tiger Woods,” Poulter said, when asked if he was surprised to see Woods headed out in the afternoon.
And when asked if any other player would get that treatment having played so poorly out of the gate, Poulter paused for a long time and smiled.
“Is Davis Love going to sit Tiger Woods?” he finally answered. “He’s a brave man (if he does.) You know, he’s Tiger Woods. He’s the guy they get out there (to get the crowd) fired up. He didn’t quite fire them up this morning, but you never know. When Tiger is on, he’s on, and he’s very impressive. When he’s not, he’s not. But it’s a brave captain to leave him out.”
Updated 8 p.m.: As expected, Woods will sit Saturday morning, benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career. He’d played in every possible match in his six previous appearances. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker will be back in the U.S. lineup.