Tiger Woods Answers Ryder Cup Questions With Non-Answers
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

In a turn of not-so-surprising events, Tiger Woods evaded questions on whether he will play in the Ryder Cup. At the moment, Tiger is ninth in the standings, which means he would need American team captain Corey Pavin to select him as one of his three free picks if they were made today. But there are still two events on the calender before the eight automatic spots are set in stone — this week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Here’s the line of questioning from Tiger’s Wednesday press conference at Firestone:

Q. There’s been a lot of speculation on the Ryder Cup. We’re two weeks out from locking up the top eight. If you were asked to do as a captain’s pick, are you all in?
TIGER WOODS: I’m planning on playing my way into the team.

Q. If it doesn’t happen —
TIGER WOODS: I’m planning on playing my way into the team.

Q. It’s still kind of an equivocation —
TIGER WOODS: I’m planning on playing my way into the team.

Several questions later, another reporter tried to follow up again:

Q. Corey Pavin said recently he did want you on his team in Wales, and he had planned to talk to you next week at the PGA. Given what you just said about the Ryder Cup a little while ago, is that conversation unnecessary? I mean, I think he wanted to gauge where you were at with that. Does he not need to talk to you about where you are and even if you want to play on the team?

TIGER WOODS: I think if I do well this week, I should sew up my spot.

After Greenbrier, the top-20 in the American standings are:

1      Phil MICKELSON            5,768.74900

2      Jim FURYK                       3,418.94283

3      Steve STRICKER              3,402.67543

4      Jeff OVERTON                 3,277.84783

5      Anthony KIM                    3,238.30928

6      Lucas GLOVER                2,980.87453

7      Matt KUCHAR                 2,938.41987

8      Dustin JOHNSON           2,936.13845

9      Tiger WOODS                    2,773.30600

10    Hunter MAHAN                 2,643.75414

11    Ricky BARNES                   2,610.17153

12    Ben CRANE                        2,533.92969

13    Stewart CINK                      2,394.03315

14    Nick WATNEY                  2,297.97461

15    Rickie FOWLER                 2,259.37125

16    J.B. HOLMES                     2,219.01100

17    Bubba WATSON                 2,202.31884

18    Bo VAN PELT                   2,156.33400

19    Sean O’HAIR                       2,122.57468

20    Zach JOHNSON                  2,118.39647

Well, if it’s up to the Lord, I’d say Captain Pavin goes with Woods, Crane and Cink. Or maybe change one up with the young Fowler.

Compare Tiger’s elusive answers to the Ryder Cup with his response to whether he’s playing in the next WGC event in Shanghai. He replied with a direct “yes.”

The reporter seemed almost caught off-guard and repeated, “You are?”

“Yes,” said Tiger.

Captain Pavin and Tiger are set to have sit-down next week at Whistling Straits, where hopefully Tiger will have clearer answers. But I guess that could depend on his performance at Firestone this week — a place where he’s won seven times. The chatter at the Senior Open was that there’s no way Tiger can’t do well here, right? And there’s no way Pavin won’t pick Tiger either way, right?

Strangely enough, the first question is harder to answer than the second.