AAP Golf

Woods exploring options to play Cup in Aus

By AAP Newswire

US skipper Tiger Woods will rely on practice matches with teammates in Florida to justify picking himself to play at December's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Woods failed to make the eight automatic qualifiers for the American team and will now need the support of his assistants to hand himself one of four wildcards for the biennial teams event.

The biggest obstacle, though, is that he is scheduled to play just one official US PGA Tour event before December.

Woods has committed to the US PGA Tour's new event in Japan while he will also play in his foundation's unofficial, 18-man event in the Bahamas in December.

Captain's picks will be made in early November and Woods said he wanted to see potential wildcards playing regular golf.

Asked if that ruled him out, he said: "I don't know; that's up to myself, the vice captains and eight (qualifiers)."

Woods' chronic back injuries have flared up recently and forced him to play a very limited schedule after winning a 15th major at the Masters in April.

He failed to advance to the season-ending Tour Championship this week and is unlikely to play competitive golf for two months.

Woods has stated publicly he has every intention of choosing himself to be just the second playing skipper in the Cup's 25-year history.

But he did not anticipate injuries forcing him to withdraw from the US PGA Tour's play-offs opener.

Instead, Woods said he would play regularly with Florida-based golf stars such as Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas.

The aim would be to show his teammates he is competitively sharp.

"Practising; playing and staying sharp (is key)," Woods said.

"I'm playing in Japan; that's going to help.

"A lot of it has to do with the guys getting ready for the Fall (October to November) events (on the PGA Tour).

"We'll have some matches and that's something I'll rely on."

The Presidents Cup, which is run by the PGA Tour, has struggled for interest and media coverage in the US due to it being a lopsided event that is dwarfed by the higher-profile Ryder Cup.

The American team has won 10 of the 12 total editions of the Presidents Cup.

But Woods refused to comment when asked if there was pressure to pick himself and give this year's Cup a boost.

"My job as captain is to put together the best team possible," he said.

"But that's something we'll certainly talk about, whether I should play or not play."

However, Woods admitted he has the ability to pull rank.

"Ultimately, it's my call but I want to have all of their opinions whether I play," he said.