Tuesday 24 October 2017

Monty welcomes Wood's inclusion

Tiger Woods wild card pick for Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods wild card pick for Ryder Cup. Photo: Getty Images

Colin Montgomerie is thrilled Tiger Woods is coming to Celtic Manor in three weeks' time.

Seven months after saying he might not play this year following the sex scandal that rocked sport, the world number one is one of four wild cards on the United States team.



Woods was named yesterday by captain Corey Pavin along with 21-year-old rising star Rickie Fowler, Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson, and Montgomerie is pleased that the sport's biggest name will be present.



Montgomerie, who left out world number nine Paul Casey, commented: "Corey has used his four captain's picks to good effect as I knew he would.



"I am glad we now know the 12 men we will face at Celtic Manor. Like my European team, the American side has an excellent blend of youthful talent and I am delighted to see Tiger Woods amongst Corey's selections - the Ryder Cup is a better event with him in it."



Woods last played in Wales in 1995 at the Walker Cup, a trip he will not look back on fondly.



He fell ill before the match, went out of bounds with a nine-iron on the last hole to lose to Gary Wolstenholme and watched Britain and Ireland celebrate victory.



Now, of course, Woods is by far the game's biggest name, but a player who has not won yet this season - meaning he did not qualify on points - and is in danger of going into the record books as America's biggest-ever loser.



Ray Floyd was beaten in 16 of his 31 games between 1969 and 1993. Woods has lost 13 out of 25 since his debut at Valderrama in Spain 13 years ago.



Only in Boston in 1999 has he tasted team success in the match and it was while he was out with a knee injury that the United States won by five points in Louisville two years ago.



"It's great to be part of this team," said Woods, who has just gone six events without a top-10 finish for the first time in his career.



"I'm honoured to be selected. I'm looking forward to having a great time with the team and hopefully bringing the cup back."



Asked about a perception of him not caring too much about the competition - he said in 2002 he would rather win a million dollars than the cup - Woods hit back.



"I've always loved playing the Ryder Cup and enjoy being part of the team. I don't know where this perception of indifference comes from because I have always loved it," he said.



"They are experiences you will never forget and you create friendships."



As for his form, he added: "I think my game is not far away and that makes it a lot easier to go into a pressure-packed environment."



Woods scored a maximum five points in last October's Presidents Cup, but accepts that playing Europe - especially away from home - is very different.



"The atmosphere is certainly different - it's definitely more charged. But it's great fun to play in front of fans that are that excited," he said.



"You want to play well to make the crowd go quiet. That's the objective of every team."



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