Tiger Woods Will Play in Golf’s Presidents Cup as Pick of Captain Couples

Tiger Woods will be one of Fred Couples’s captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup, even after an injury-shortened season that’s seen him register one top-five finish and slump to 36th in the world rankings.

Couples, who originally was set to announce his two picks Sept. 26, said Woods will be among the 12 U.S. golfers to face an international team at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from Nov. 17-20.

“I told him that he’s going to be on the team,” Couples said at a news conference yesterday at the Boeing Classic on the Champions Tour in Snoqualmie, Washington. “There’s no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He’s the best player in the world forever.”

Ten players qualify for the squad based on points earned in U.S. PGA Tour events since the 2009 Barclays tournament and two are captain’s picks. Woods is 28th in the rankings for the U.S. Presidents Cup team and Couples said last week that he would need to play more tournaments to be included. In the 2009 edition, Woods led the triumphant U.S. team, winning all five of his matches.

Woods, 35, missed the cut for weekend play at this month’s U.S. PGA Championship, the final major tournament of the year, and failed to qualify for the U.S. PGA Tour’s playoffs, which began yesterday.

The 71-time winner on the PGA Tour missed almost four months this season with Achilles tendon and knee injuries and has failed to win since November 2009. The 14-time major champion’s best finish in eight tournaments this year was a tie for fourth at April’s Masters Tournament.

Not Playing Well

“Is he playing well right now? No,” Couples said. “He almost won Augusta three months, four months ago, so you don’t do that by playing poor golf.”

Woods withdrew injured from the Players Championship in May, missed the U.S. and British Opens and finished tied for 37th in his return at the Bridgestone Invitational this month before recording his worst opening-round score in 62 major appearances at the PGA Championship.

Woods is scheduled to play in Notah Begay III’s Foundation Challenge on Aug. 31 and four days ago said on his website that he may add a tournament from the PGA Tour’s Fall Series, which begins Sept. 29 with the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

The last of the four tournaments in the series is the Oct. 20-23 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, near Woods’s Florida base.

Woods will play the Australian Open from Nov. 10-13, his first visit to Sydney in 15 years, when he tied for fifth at the 1996 Australian Open.

Woods won the Australian Masters in Melbourne in 2009, his last title anywhere. The victory came days before a car accident outside of his Florida home led to an admission of marital infidelity and his divorce.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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