Will the USA miss Tiger in the Ryder Cup?

Published 14/09/2008 12:45:25

It's old news that Tiger will miss the rest of the season and, inevitably, the 2008 Ryder Cup. Some say Tiger won't be missed; he saves his best game for the majors, or at least the big money events. Others say he is a talismanic figure and instrumental to winning the psychological war against the Europeans. Will USA roar without its Tiger?


Tiger's Record in the Ryder Cup

Won 10, Lost 13, Halved 2.

So a 44% strike rate - not exactly befitting of the most dominant golfer of this generation (perhaps any generation with enough time and luck with injuries). However, look further into his Ryder Cup record and you may note he has only lost one singles match - to Constantino Rocca in 1997 when Woods was just 21 years old.


Woods was also USA's leading scorer in 2006 in Ireland - if anything it seems he is the best of a bad bunch in recent times.


The Tiger Factor


Woods has superstar status, if he could pull his team-mates together like he could pull the crowds, the USA would never lose with him in the side. Woods has a mythical aura about him in singles competition that he has yet to carry across to the Ryder Cup. Lesser players playing with Woods will feel buoyed by his presence whilst inexperienced opponents will feel intimidated by it. 


Add in the factor of a passionate and fiercely patriotic home crowd, how could you argue Tiger's presence would be of detriment to the team?


Attitude towards the Ryder Cup


In 2006 when asked the question : "What would be more important for you, to win this week or the Ryder Cup next week?", Woods replied:

"Here this week. I can think of a million reasons why."


This is not a good attitude to approach the competition with, and although Woods later said this was a joke, I feel you wouldn't get a top European competitor, such as Padraig Harrington, making a similar crack.


Woods was also asked by Azinger to be vice-captain of the team . Woods declined.


There is a feeling amongst Europeans that the USA team are too pampered on their tour, the presence of Woods has inflated prize money and sponsorship to such a level that players have lost sight of the values of the game. Whether you agree or disagree with this contention, you can't argue the American attitude and performances in recent years have been nothing short of dire.


Pulling together the home team


Psychologically, top players like Phil Mickelson who've stood in Tiger's shadow for a while may feel it's their time to shine. Although Mickelson has won majors and is a star in his own right, his name will always be second on the cast-list to Woods. It's time for the players down the list to step up and prove that their not just in it for the free cars and holidays that come their way.


Woods' media circus distraction is now gone - this can only help the other players to pull together and focus. I mentioned earlier Tiger intimidating the opposition but he also does this to his Ryder Cup colleagues week in, week out on the tour. Maybe without this pressure against them they can finally pull together and stop Europe's impressive winning streak.


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