Woods pulls out of US Ryder Cup consideration


Tiger Woods removed himself from consideration for the Ryder Cup team Wednesday evening with a clear
message that he is not healthy enough to play.

One day after U.S. captain Tom Watson said he trusted Woods to give him the "straight skinny"
on the condition of his back injury and his game, Woods said he called the 64-year-old captain to say he
would not be available.

The decision spares Watson from having to leave Woods off the team, and it eliminates a distraction over
the next three weeks before Watson announces his three captain’s picks for the Sept. 26-28 matches
against Europe at Gleneagles.

"I have already spoken to Tom about the Ryder Cup, and while I greatly appreciate his thinking about
me for a possible captain’s pick, I took myself out of consideration," Woods said in a statement on
his website. "The U.S. team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my

That he was even under consideration was mildly surprising.

Woods’ best finish this year was a tie for 25th because of nagging back issues at the start of the year
that led him to have surgery on March 31. He missed two majors, including the Masters for the first
time, and did not return for three months. In the four events he played upon his return, he missed the
cut twice, withdrew during the final round at Firestone and finished 69th in the British Open for his
worst 72-hole result in a major.

"My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive, and I hope that he’ll return to the
game very soon," Watson said in a statement released by the PGA of America. "Of course, I’m
disappointed that Tiger Woods has asked not to be considered for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and that his
health is not where he would like it to be. However, I think we can all agree that we need Tiger Woods
in this great sport, and he has taken the high road by informing me early on in the selection process.

"My focus will remain on identifying three players to join the U.S. team and give us the best chance
for success at Gleneagles."

Woods said his recent back trouble was not related to the impinged nerve that led to surgery.

He missed the cut by five shots at Valhalla, and he grimaced for the final three hours of the second
round at the PGA Championship.

"I’ve been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and
healed," Woods said. "They’ve advised me not to play or practice now. I was fortunate that my
recent back injury was not related to my surgery and was muscular only."

Woods said he would not return until his World Challenge in Orlando, Florida, the first week of December.

That would mean he doesn’t play the Frys.com Open or an exhibition in Argentina with Matt Kuchar
scheduled for October. Woods was considering the Frys.com Open, a requirement for eight players who
competed in an exhibition in Turkey two years ago.

Watson and Woods have never been close, and they only talked about his Ryder Cup situation for the first
time a few weeks ago. Even so, Watson said all summer that he wanted Woods on the team provided he was
healthy and playing well.

And while Woods was injured and not playing at all, Watson remained interested.

"I don’t make this comment loosely. He is Tiger Woods and he brings a lot to the team — if he has
the ability to play and he’s healthy, "Watson said Monday. "He brings a lot to the team. And
I’d be a fool not to consider him."

Watson already has lost Dustin Johnson, who went 3-0 at Medinah in the last Ryder Cup, because he has
taken a "voluntary leave" to face "personal challenges." Jason Dufner, who went 3-1
in his Ryder Cup debut two years ago, has a neck injury and is out indefinitely. Dufner fell out of the
top nine who automatically qualified.

Watson already has three rookies on his team — Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed — facing a
European team that features Rory McIlroy and three other players from the top five in the world.

American players have three weeks to audition for Watson before he announces his picks Sept. 2 in New

This will be only the second Ryder Cup that Woods does not play. He missed the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla
while sitting out the second half of the season following reconstructive knee surgery. That was the last
time the Americans won the Ryder Cup.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No posts to display