Saturday 29 April 2017

Couples puts heat on Tiger

Bernie McGuire

Tiger Woods turned down an invitation to contest this week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles -- but there's now real pressure on him to return to golf if he wants to play in November's Presidents Cup.

Woods politely said no to Gleneagles tournament chairman Colin Montgomerie as the former world No 1 takes another long break from the game.

Having not qualified for the start of this week's PGA Tour FedEx Cup series, Woods is not scheduled to contest another tour event until the Australian Open in Sydney, starting on November 10.

The Australian Open is a week prior to the Presidents Cup in Melbourne and USA team captain Fred Couples has issued Woods an ultimatum -- declaring that unless he adds more tournaments between now and November to his schedule, he runs of the risk of being overlooked by Couples as one of his two 'wild card' picks.

"I really want Tiger on the team based on my opinion that he's been the best player for 10 straight years," said Couples.

"I don't think you can push him down because he's not playing maybe as well as 20 other guys that could be picked.

"A couple of times I've been picked for a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup, and sometimes that's just the way it falls.

"I've talked to Mark Steinberg, who manages Tiger, about him playing additional tournaments and we're going to figure out a way that we can get this done.

"But he can't just show up the week before in Australia and expect to be picked for the Presidents Cup.

"I have made it clear that whoever I picked will be playing the Australian tournament the week before. But I need him to play more than just there.''

Ironically, Woods' last tournament win anywhere was in 2009 at the Australian Masters in Melbourne, where he had made his Presidents Cup debut 11 years earlier.

Couples will announce his two 'wild card' picks on September 18.

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