Sunday, July 14, 2024

Tiger Woods ‘REJECTS USA Ryder Cup captaincy’ for next year’s New York showdown… with appointment set to be unveiled TOMORROW

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Tiger Woods has turned down the USA Ryder Cup captaincy for next year’s tournament at Bethpage Black, according to a report. 

It was revealed Monday morning that the PGA of America would announce the Team USA captain for the 2025 Ryder Cup at noon ET Tuesday, leading many fans to cling to hope that the 15-time major winner had finally accepted the position. 

However, their hopes were swiftly dashed as the 48-year-old has rejected the opportunity to lead the Americans in next year’s clash with Europe in New York, according to The Telegraph. 

Woods is believed to have been willing to accept the role if the PGA of America scaled back the standard captaincy commitments ahead of the tournament. 

However, the golf legend, who previously captained the US in the 2019 Presidents Cup, and the organization seemingly failed to reach a compromise. 

Tiger Woods has turned down the USA Ryder Cup captaincy for next year’s tournament

Their European counterparts confirmed in November that Luke Donald would be returning to his position after leading Rory McIlroy and co. to a 16.5-11.5 victory in Rome last year. 

And with just over a year until the US faces off against Europe once again, the PGA of America has reportedly decided to turn elsewhere. 

Fred Couples, Stewart Cink and Davis Love III are believed to be in contention to succeed Zach Johnson. 

Woods previously cast doubt over his willingness to accept the role in May, citing his involvement in golf’s slow-burning merger negotiations as a barrier to being able to commit to next year’s clash with Europe in New York.

He has been front and center of the drawn-out merger negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and sounded cautious about adding the duties of the Ryder Cup captaincy to his load when asked ahead of the PGA Championship in May. 

‘I’m dedicating so much time to what we’re doing with the PGA Tour, I don’t want to not fulfil the role of the captaincy if I can’t do it,’ Woods said at Valhalla. 

‘What that all entails, representing team USA and the commitments to the PGA of America, the players and the fans, I need to feel that I can give the amount of time that it deserves.’ 

CEO of PGA of American Seth Waugh said at the time that the committee respected Woods’ dedication to his commitments as he opened up on the extensive talks with the golfing icon.  

Woods is believed to have been willing to accept if  captaincy commitments were scaled back

Woods is believed to have been willing to accept if  captaincy commitments were scaled back

Europe confirmed back in December that Luke Donald would be returning for a second term

Europe confirmed back in December that Luke Donald would be returning for a second term 

‘We have had conversations for months,’ Waugh said ahead of the PGA Championship. 

‘We have also had conversations at the Ryder Cup committee, multiple conversations about potential captains and a list of potential captains. You know, Tiger, has been pretty clear.

‘I think we all know that he can be pretty focused, and that’s one of his many superpowers – that ability to tunnel and decide.

‘And he doesn’t do anything that he’s not fully committed to, and we totally respect that. And he’s got a lot on his plate right now. He’s very active, obviously, on the PGA Tour side of things (in their negotiations with the Saudi Arabian backers of the LIV circuit).’

2009 Open champion Cink is said to be the frontrunner but with the showdown to play out in front of an infamous raucous New York crowd, the PGA of America could opt for a bigger box office name to live up to the billing. 

Couples has been winning captain for three US Presidents Cup teams and has been a Ryder Cup vice-captain three times but has yet to captain a Ryder Cup team. 

Meanwhile, Love III has the most recent experience out of the trio of contenders, having led the USA to triumph over Trevor Immelman’s international team in the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. 

Phil Mickelson could have been considered a strong contender for the captaincy at Bethpage Black, where he has been adored by the New York crowds and advocated for the Ryder Cup to be staged. 

2009 Open champion Stewart Cink is said to be the frontrunner for the USA captaincy

2009 Open champion Stewart Cink is said to be the frontrunner for the USA captaincy 

Fred Couples

Davis Love III

Fred Couples (left) and Davis Love III (right) are believed to also be contenders for the role 

But he himself admitted he had no chance of leading the Americans into battle against the Europeans following his defection to LIV Golf in 2022. 

Woods guided the USA to a win during the 2019 edition of the Presidents Cup – as captain and their best player – having used a captain’s pick on himself. 

He has played in eight Ryder Cups, competing in 37 matches and finishing with a career record of 13 wins, 21 defeats and three halves.

He’s also already performed leadership duties, having been an assistant captain at Hazeltine in 2016.

While he has not been present at the past two Ryder Cups at Whistling Straits and Marco Simone, Woods has still played a key role within Team USA behind-the scenes. 

Woods, a man who bleeds red, white and blue, has 15 majors to his name and a treasure trove of Ryder Cup experience, is someone any American would want in their corner – something Johnson gladly took him up on last year. 

The 15-time major winner guided the USA to a win during the 2019 Presidents Cup

The 15-time major winner guided the USA to a win during the 2019 Presidents Cup

Ahead of last year’s defeat in Rome, Johnson revealed that Woods would be on call for his wise counsel should Team USA require his expertise.

‘He is a great resource,’ Johnson said of Woods. ‘He’s very invested in Team USA, very invested in how we navigate year in and year out Team USA because the guy is patriotic, he wants to win, he’s got experience and, shocker, he’s the best player in whatever decades. Thankfully, he’s an American. He is red white and blue, through and through.

‘Personally speaking, I could show you the text messages he and I have had … a lot of them are so great in support and belief and faith. I got to tag along with him as a vice captain in his captainship in Australia, and the man knows what he is talking about … he’s amazing, and he will continue to be a part of Team USA going forward. He will not be in Rome, which is fine, it’s probably not wise, it was more or less his decision, but he’s great counsel.’

He was also absent from the USA’s 19-9 massacre at the 2021 tournament at Whistling Straits but still managed to deliver one of the most rousing rallying cries.

Woods became the ultimate motivator, sending text messages to his fellow countrymen to encourage them to the dominant victory from the comfort of his couch.

Zach Johnson said before last year's Ryder Cup that he would call upon Woods for advice

Zach Johnson said before last year’s Ryder Cup that he would call upon Woods for advice 

One of the messages contained a particularly violent mental image to inspire his compatriots. With the USA having already established a significant 11-5 lead over Europe heading into Sunday singles, Woods texted captain Steve Stricker: ‘Now step on their necks.’

Woods continued his couch captaining in 2022 during the Presidents Cup as he acted as Love III’s extra pair of eyes.

Again absent from Quail Hollow, Woods regularly called the American captain to chip in with advice.

‘He’s spoken to a lot of people on the team,’ Love said at the time. ‘I was standing there on sixth tee for like an hour, a long time, so I called him and we talked for a while. And I said, well, at least you’re watching on TV. Call us if you see anything.’

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