Tiger Woods is set to be Team USA’s secret weapon in this week’s Ryder Cup, according to the last man to keep the European fans quiet in the biennial bout.
“I think Tiger is going to be terrific in the team room,” insisted Paul Azinger, who led the home team to a 16.5-11.5 victory over Nick Faldo’s side at Valhalla eight years ago.
“What Tiger needs to be is the guy who reminds players how to think, how to get prepared. Great players don’t need lessons, they need reminders. Sometimes you get obsessed with the wrong thing and I think Tiger has the ability to remind these great players that there is no shortcut to winning any event. You can’t hope or wish for a win, you’ve got to get prepared to win and Tiger, I think, will preach that message of preparation to the players and I think he’s going to be very beneficial.”
This American team appears to be a tighter-knit group than those that lost the last three matches, including the defeat at Gleneagles two years ago that was followed by Phil Mickelson criticising captain Tom Watson.
Azinger likes the fact that the players are friends but stressed the importance of them bringing their games faces to the 41st contest rather than thinking it will be about having “fun”.
He added: “While I see it as very beneficial that the players know each other, in the end there is no shortcut to this. They can all be best friends if they want but it doesn’t make them champions of the Ryder Cup unless they get prepared.
“I think that’s the reason Tiger Woods is in that room because who knew how to prepare better for big events than Tiger.”