The Telegraph
Monday , August 11 , 2014
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Azinger: Wouldn’t select Woods

Tiger Woods should not be picked for the American Ryder Cup team this year, according to Paul Azinger, the USA’s winning captain in 2008.

Woods has struggled on the course this year with poor form and back problems, and he missed the cut at the US PGA in Kentucky on Friday.

Tom Watson, the USA captain for the Ryder Cup next month at Gleneagles, faces a decision over whether to pick Woods but Azinger, who led the USA to victory over Europe by five points six years ago, thinks the 14-time Major winner should be left out.

“I don’t think I would (select Woods),” Azinger said. “I don’t see how you can take an injured player who is not playing well. Also, Tiger has not necessarily been the formula for success either. I just don’t see how you can pick him at this point.”

Azinger even predicted that Woods will forestall any possibility of a selection dilemma for Watson by declaring himself unavailable for the 2014 match at Gleneagles.

“I am guessing he will call Tom and beg out of this and say, ‘I am not ready’, make Tom’s decision easier,” Azinger added.

Woods, asked when he would next play following his missed cut at Valhalla, answered: “I don’t know.”

He was similarly non-committal when asked what he would say if Watson offered him a wild-place at Gleneagles, saying: “I don’t know, he hasn’t called.”

Woods, who was absent with injury when Azinger masterminded that 2008 triumph, has played just seven times this year.

The former world No 1 has not finished in the top ten at any event in 2014 and missed the Masters and US Open after back surgery at the end of March.

If it was an odd-numbered year it would not even be a question. Woods would shut down for at least a few months and complete his rehabilitation from the back surgery that some are forgetting he only underwent four and a half months ago.

But this is an even-numbered year and that means the Ryder Cup. And that also means a mass of conjecture and speculation before either Watson or Woods reveal their hand.

Many do not believe it has any validity as a query anyway. In the 2014 season, Woods, a 38-year-old clearly struggling with his back has not only failed to record a top 10 in a major for the first time in 18 years as a pro, but a top 20 in any event.

For him, the PGA Tour campaign is now over and the earning charts show that Woods amassed the grandly sum of $108,275.