Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler were selected today as U.S. captain Corey Pavin’s picks to face Europe in next month’s Ryder Cup golf matches.
Woods, who missed the U.S.’s 2008 victory in Louisville, Kentucky, while recovering from knee surgery, will be making his sixth appearance in the biennial event. Woods has a 10-13-2 record in 25 matches, including a 3-1-1 mark in singles competition.
With Woods winless in 11 U.S. PGA Tour events this season, his selection to the team had been in question leading up to today’s announcement in New York. The world’s No. 1 ranked player finished 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship yesterday after following an opening-day 72 with three consecutive rounds in the 60s.
“I look at it as the same,” Woods said of being selected versus earning a spot through the qualification process. “Whether I was a person who was picked or a person who earned their way on the squad, it doesn’t change the overall goal, it’s still the same, and that’s to go over there and win.”
Woods, 34, was divorced last month after admitting to several extramarital affairs. His coach of six years, Hank Haney, also quit this year. During last month’s PGA Championship in Wisconsin, Pavin denied a Golf Channel report that he was going to select Woods. Last week, Pavin would only say that Woods was high on his list of possible selections.
The four captain’s selections join Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar on the U.S. squad. The eight U.S. qualifiers were determined after the PGA Championship last month.
Johnson, 34, whose lone Ryder Cup appearance came in 2006, has a 1-2-1 record with a victory in singles.
Cink, 37, a member of the 2008 U.S. team, will be making his fifth appearance. He has a 4-7-4 record in 15 career matches, including one win and three ties in singles.
Fowler, 21, is the first U.S. PGA Tour rookie selected as a captain’s pick and the third-youngest player to make the team behind Horton Smith in 1929 and Woods in 1997. Fowler has five Top-10 finishes this season, including a runner-up at the Phoenix Open and the Memorial Tournament.
“Experience in some ways is a little bit overrated,” U.S. assistant captain Tom Lehman said during a press conference. “Picking Rickie Fowler is an example of seeing a kid who is very, very tough mentally, very strong, very fearless in the way he plays.”
Last month, European captain Colin Montgomerie selected Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as his picks.
The trio joined Molinari’s brother, Francesco, Englishmen Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, U.S. PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer of Germany, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sweden’s Peter Hanson.
The 38th edition takes place Oct. 1-3 at Celtic Manor in Wales, with the U.S. aiming to defend the title after defeating Europe 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 two years ago.