Before the Ryder Cup matches started, Tiger Woods accepted responsibility for the American team’s shortcomings against Europe in the last few decades. After the U.S. blew a 10-6 lead heading into Sunday singles where the Europeans staged an epic comeback to win, he also expressed regret.
Woods apologized to Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson, the four rookies on the U.S. squad, for failing to secure a full point in the 13 1/2 – 14 1/2 loss, according to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte:
Appearing on “Morning Drive,” Rosaforte revealed, “Brandt shared with me (at his fundraiser in Memphis) that Tiger got all the rookies in a room, closed the door and personally apologized to everyone for not doing more, for not getting the points he needed to get to get a U.S. victory. For people who don’t think Woods really cares, whenever that turn or that pivot occurred in his career, it has fully turned.”
Speaking to reporters in Atalaya, Turkey, at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, an eight-player money grab, Woods also apologized for his 0-3-1 record at this year’s matches at Medinah:
“I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions and didn’t do that,” Woods said. “My point (in the singles) didn’t matter when all was said and done. Steve Stricker and I were sent out to win points and we didn’t do it. That was frustrating.
“It has been difficult, there is no doubt. We held a great lead and couldn’t manage to win from a perfect position going into Sunday. That was tough. Some guys were pretty bummed out by what happened. We had guys out early on Sunday to get points and that didn’t happen. It was then left to us at the back, but it came down to the situation where my point didn’t matter. It was a tough situation, no doubt.”
Tiger added that the disappointing loss wasn’t a result of lack of caring — which the Americans have been criticized for to explain their crappy showings at the Ryder Cup. (For what it’s worth, I don’t think that’s the case. From what I saw at Medinah (my first Ryder Cup so basing the following on what I’ve heard and read from my elders), this team seemed more passionate and “together” than they have been in the past.
“That’s because you weren’t in the team room, you weren’t on the team,” said Woods, who is ranked No. 2 in the world. “It has been the same since I first played in 1997. That hasn’t changed. We have always been a great team unit. No loss feels good, whether that is in a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.”
As for the possibility of captaining the U.S. squad someday? A politically-correct “Sure.”
“It would be a huge honor for me to be captain of a Ryder Cup team,” he said. “Hopefully it will not happen in the near future because I would like to play on more teams, but certainly one day when my career is slowing down or over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side of things.”
Also, I’m not sure this has been mentioned, but Tiger, along with other Ryder Cup veterans Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson, were among the U.S. players who acted with respect at the post-loss press conference.
I know everyone deals with disappointment differently, and if you were there when the Americans were stunned and speechless as Europe began their celebration on the 18th green, then it was clear they were devastated. And I’m only saying this because there was criticism for the European players who were clearly drunk at their presser — but there were several Americans who could have showed more humility (and common sense).
*Ed. note: Sorry for the long hiatus in posts. I wasn’t feeling well last week and spent most of it in bed at the hotel. Alas, I wasn’t able to share more of my thoughts and memories on the Ryder Cup. It’s a bit dated now, but just wanted to do a quick poll on whether you’d like me to still do that. Thanks. Have a great day. –SW
(Getty Images/Jamie Squire)