Tiger plans to make Ryder Cup team by winning tournaments
By Bernie D'Amato under PGA Tour


The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be Tiger Woods’ third event since returning to competition from back surgery. He has not played well in the previous two events, but he said the venue this week will give him confidence. Tiger owns Firestone Country Club with eight wins dating back to 1999, and said, “This golf course is just amazing. It’s very forward. It’s right in front of you.”

In order to continue his dominance in Akron, Tiger said his mishits will need to improve. “My good shots are still really good. My bad shots need to be in positions where I know I should miss the golf ball instead of places where I have been missing it. There’s, obviously, short sides and fat sides and making sure I miss the ball on the correct side, depends on where the flag is.  And that’s something that I haven’t done as consistently as well as I’d like to.”

There weren’t many mishits back at the 2000 PGA at Valhalla where Tiger defeated Bob May in one of the great back nine duels in the history of the game. He said, “At the time, I was going on all cylinders. That year, I was really playing well, and it was just a matter of staying out in front.”

Tiger added, “It’s not too often where you’re tied for the lead of a major championship and you go out and shoot 31 on the back nine and lose. Unfortunately for Bob, that’s what happened.”

The replay of the 2000 PGA was recently on the Golf Channel, and many fans (including myself) are hoping for another epic Tiger win at Valhalla next week.

A win would also take care of the Ryder Cup chatter. Tiger must win the Bridgestone and/or the PGA to automatically qualify for the team. If he doesn’t play well enough to win, then many people are speculating Tom Watson will make Tiger a captain’s pick.

Tiger said, “Well, I would like to win these two events and not have to worry about anything.  That’s the plan. That’s the mindset. That’s the focus.”

“We’ll see how it falls after these few weeks. Other than that, I really ‑‑ I’m so far out of it right now that I need to play well to get myself there where I can get myself into the Playoffs and ultimately, hopefully, play all four weeks.”

Woods is physically able to play, but he will need to quickly improve his game to compete in the Playoffs and the Ryder Cup.

–Bernie D’Amato