No way Tiger Woods left out of Ryder Cup

September, 6, 2010
09/06/10
6:06
PM ET

NORTON, Mass. -- There's this golfer. Born in the good ol' U.S.A. Competed on five previous Ryder Cup teams.

Came close to qualifying this year, but didn't make it. Has played in only 11 events so far due to some personal issues. Doesn't have any wins and has been wildly inconsistent at times, but owns a pair of T-4 results at majors.

In the past few weeks, when the captain's picks were likely being determined, he finished T-11 and T-12.

He also happens to own 14 major championship titles and though his Ryder Cup record is hardly stellar, he hasn't lost a singles match since 1997.

So, would you pick him for your squad?

The player in question, of course, is Tiger Woods. And if your name is Corey Pavin, the answer to that query is an easy one.

Yes. Of course you would.

In fact, chances are that by the time you read this, Woods will have already been informed that he is indeed one of Pavin's four captain's selections.

We won't know officially until those picks are announced at 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, but analyze the writing on the wall and you'll be able to read between the lines.

After all, we already know this much: Pavin wants Woods on the team, recently saying, "He's high on my list. He's certainly a big consideration, no doubt." And Woods wants to be on the team, maintaining, "I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully Corey will pick me on the team."

Immediately following his final-round 3-under 68 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Tiger was asked about the prospects of being named to the roster.

Will he be on pins and needles in advance of a phone call from the captain?

"I think he has my number. No, I'll talk to him this afternoon, give him a call."

Does he have any plans for 10:30 the next morning?

"That's what I'm going to call him about."

Could he make himself available for that biennial conference call?

"I would like to find out first before that happens."

It would be utterly shocking -- and perhaps the greatest bluff in the history of Ryder Cup captains -- if Pavin leaves Woods off his list to round out the roster.

There are a few reasons. Most notably is the fact, simply put, there aren't four players who deserve spots more than Woods. It would be futile for the U.S. skipper to attempt to put together a group that gives his team a better chance to win in Wales.

That leads to another one. Unlike his European counterpart Colin Montgomerie, Pavin is more likely to play the percentages. Which is to say, whether the team wins or loses, it won't be because of or in spite of his actions. If the team loses without the world's No. 1-ranked player in attendance, all of the fault therein lies with him.

Those who contend that Woods doesn't warrant a place on the roster use the 2008 Ryder Cup as Exhibit A. While he was recovering from season-ending knee surgery, the team was victorious for the first time in nearly a decade, prompting speculation that it's better off without him.

Some will also question his desire, as he once famously commented that no one remembers Jack Nicklaus' record in the event, only his individual accomplishments. While there is no scale to measure such inner thoughts, Woods has certainly said all of the right things in the weeks and months leading up to the event.

"It would be nice to be on the team," he said on Monday. "I enjoy playing in the Ryder Cup and going out there against those guys with my teammates and see if we can get it done."

There is little doubt Woods will once again be part of the U.S. team. He likely already knows, while the rest of us will find out for sure on Tuesday.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.

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