With the 2014 Ryder Cup matches set to tee off in just a few months, there has been much debate over whether U.S. team captain Tom Watson will choose the ailing Tiger Woods with a captain's pick. Woods, of course, has been rehabbing after lower back surgery earlier this season to alleviate pain associated with a pinched nerve. He hasn't competed in any tournaments since March, meaning Tiger will not earn enough Ryder Cup points to earn his way onto the U.S. team by September. That means the only man standing in the way of Tiger playing in the event is captain Tom Watson.
Over the past few weeks, numerous outlets have reported what sounds like Watson juggling his stance on whether he's going to use one of his picks on Tiger. One day it's a sure thing, the next not so much.
Most recently, Jeff Ritter over at Golf Magazine reports that Watson will choose Tiger for the team as long as the former world No. 1 is healthy.
I’ve said it before that he’s an automatic pick. You can’t have a player of that caliber not on the team. But that has to be weighed next to what his health is. I hope he can get back in the swing, because he wasn’t playing his best even before the surgery. But if he’s not physically right, Tiger will be the first one to tell me.
To be completely honest, all of this sounds more like Captain Tom not wanting to admit that he might not take Tiger Woods. Even when referencing the quote above, it is clear that Watson is going with a "yes I will, but..." stance on what will become a very public decision.
But what do we expect Watson to say at this point? Certainly not, "this guy sucks, I don't want him on my team." Watson also wouldn't just come out and declare Woods unfit for competing until -- you know -- Woods is actually deemed "unfit to compete" by a physician. Even then, would an American squad looking to regain the Ryder Cup on foreign soil want one of its members to be a man who hasn't played in 6 months?
It wouldn't be the end of the world if Tiger Woods wasn't on the Ryder Cup team.