Tiger Woods: US aiming for seven Ryder Cup wins in 20 years

Tiger says ‘system’ is working despite ‘smoking’ in Paris

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 8:10 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 8:11 pm
Tiger Woods with Pawan Munjal, chairman, Hero MotoCorp, ahead of the Hero World Challenge
Tiger Woods with Pawan Munjal, chairman, Hero MotoCorp, ahead of the Hero World Challenge

Tiger Woods has revealed the Americans have a “20-year plan” for the Ryder Cup and aim to land seven wins in that time.

The 15-time major champion was speaking as he prepared to host this week’s Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in Nassau before heading to Australia to captain the US in the Presidents’ Cup.

Woods was appointed to the “task force” set up by the PGA of America in the wake of a heavy defeat at the hands of Paul McGinley’s European side at Gleneagles in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Led by Davis Love III, the Americans then won at Hazeltine two years later only to suffer a record seven-point defeat at Le Golf National in France last September.

“The task force turned into a committee,” said Woods at Albany Golf Club, where he is bidding to win the Hero World Challenge for the sixth time.

“Phil [Mickelson] has now come off that committee. I’m still on and Zach [Johnson] is still on. Then I come off after next year.

“We have a system in place, which is great. Our system, I think, is working. We obviously didn’t play well at the right time last year and we got smoked.

“But it is one of those things that we looked as a 20-year window. If we are able to win, call it seven out of ten cups, that’s what we are looking at.

“It’s hard. For Phil and I, it was a case of we need to take a step back, take a look at as a 20-year run. It is going to outlive us, so how do we set it up for that and how do we set it up to be successful.

“That’s what we have done and we will let it play out over the next 16 years and see how it ends up.”

Woods was initially set to be a non-playing captain in the Presidents’ Cup against an International side being led by Ernie Els at Royal Melbourne.

But, after winning The Masters earlier in the year then adding the Zozo Championship in Japan in his last outing, the 43-year-old picked himself for the biennial event.

“No, I always thought I was going to be a captain,” he replied to being asked if there was a time in his career when he never really saw himself filling that role.

“A playing captain is different. There haven’t been a lot. The Ryder Cup hasn’t seen it since Arnold [Palmer] and the Presidents’ Cup hasn’t see it since Hale [Irwin].

“It is different.There is a lot more responsibility. Both Cups have become so much bigger than what they used to be. Guys could play and captain and it wasn’t a big deal.

“Some guys actually skipped Ryder Cups and went hunting. It is a different world now and the demands have gone up, on players’ times and obviously from the media side. The obligations have gone up, the pressure has been ramped up and there is more detail involved in the captaincy side of it.

“It is still about trying to keep it from the players’ perspective, keep it single-minded, keep it focused and just get them to go out and play.

“The captain’s role has increased; the vice-captain’s role has increased. I think when Tom [Watson] was captain at The Belfry in ‘93, he didn’t have a vice-captain but now there are five. It has become more intricate, so you need some more hats in there.”

Woods’ win in The Masters came at the start of a run that saw the four majors squeezed into a condensed segment of the schedule due to the PGA PGA Championship moving from August to May.

It will be the same again in 2020 - even more so due to the Olympics in Japan - with Justin Rose among those to express disquiet about the major season being over so quickly.

“It is different. It is very different,” said Woods in offering his view of the change. “Last year was out first crack at it and, talking to some guys of the guys after the Tour Championship, over the next few years you will see guys make adjustments and see what is best for them and their schedule.

“They will be aiming to get the number of events they want, whether that is supporting the US Tour or both tours.

“It is tough. It puts more importance when you do play. We can’t take the breaks we want throughout the year, so it is different.”