All eyes on Woods once again
Published 02/09/2010 | 16:34
Only four weeks until the Ryder Cup and still golf fans do not know for sure whether Tiger Woods is going to be there.
But the waiting is almost over - United States captain Corey Pavin names his four wild cards next Tuesday after watching what happens at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
The second of the FedEx Cup play-off series starts tomorrow and does so without one of the stars of the American side which beat Europe at Valhalla two years ago.
Kenny Perry, now 50, withdrew from the tournament this morning citing "mental and physical exhaustion."
Perry will not qualify for the last two legs of the play-offs as a result and presumably will not be one of Pavin's picks either.
As world number one, Woods will surely be the first of the four to be announced.
There were real doubts about that when he finished joint 78th out of 80 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational four weeks ago, but since then he has come 28th in the US PGA and 12th in The Barclays.
That still leaves Woods chasing his first victory of the season, but with his divorce now finalised and work with coach Sean Foley bringing results already - he led after an opening 65 last Thursday - there is surely no way Pavin can leave him out.
Instead the captain's biggest worry has become Anthony Kim, another of the Valhalla heroes.
Kim timed thumb surgery in May so that he would be fit again for the Ryder Cup, but since returning a month ago the 25-year-old world number 16 has still to make a halfway cut.
If he crashes out at halfway again Kim will have serious concerns about missing out on the trip to Celtic Manor.
He is under threat from the likes of last year's Open champion Stewart Cink, former Masters winner Zach Johnson - third at the US PGA - Sean O'Hair and 21-year-old Rickie Fowler.
A member of America's amateur Walker Cup only 12 months ago, Fowler is battling with Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy for the US Tour's Rookie of the Year title.
McIlroy is one of 10 Europeans in the 99-strong field and while Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald can now relax in the knowledge that they have made the Ryder Cup thanks to captain Colin Montgomerie, for omitted pair Paul Casey and Justin Rose it is a case of moving on from that big disappointment.
Scotland's Martin Laird wants to put last Sunday behind him too. He was one ahead with one to play in New Jersey, but three-putted the last and lost a play-off to Matt Kuchar.