Last month US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin said Tiger wasn’t an automatic pick for the team and he wasn’t going to “treat Tiger any different than any other player.” When Jack Nicklaus was informed of Pavin’s comments, he retorted that Pavin ought to have a “brain scan if he left Tiger out of the team.” Duh.
The team is comprised of eight players that qualify for the team based on the points accumulated through the PGA Championship in August and four captain’s picks. At the time of Pavin’s comments in May, Tiger was 11th in the standings.
I understand where Pavin was coming from with his initial remarks — he didn’t want to suggest that anyone was guaranteed a spot and that included Tiger Woods, particularly when at the time, Tiger’s past two finishes were MC-WD. He wanted to imply that everyone is starting on a level playing field. (Even if he didn’t really meant it.) But come on, it’s not like we’re talking about Sergio Garcia here.
Turns out Nicklaus’ reaction struck a chord with Pavin — or maybe Tiger just looks like he’s in better form — because on Wednesday, he told the BBC that Tiger is actually guaranteed a spot on the team.
I’m not concerned about whether he’ll make the team on points — it’ll be fantastic, I want him on the team. He’s the number-one player in the world. There’s something wrong with you if you don’t want him on the team.
I want him to be playing well. He’s finished in the top five in the last two major championships and he’s put himself on the team right now – as it stands he’s seventh on the list.
I expect him to go up on that list and improve his position and he’ll make the team no problem.
In other words, it’s a no brainer. Duh. What a difference a month makes. And good to see Pavin heeding the advice from his elders.