Tour Notebook: Tiger keen on Ryder Cup role

Woods gets in touch with Captain Love

Woods wants Ryder Cup role…as Love’s assistant

It has come to something when Tiger Woods, seven times a player and 14 times a Major winner, has put his hand up for a vice-captaincy role should he not make next year’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

The timing of his offer was even more bizarre.

According to Golf Digest Woods rang Fred Couples, one of Jay Haas’ assistants, in the middle of the Presidents Cup in Korea and then asked to be put on to Davis Love III, another assistant and captain next year.

Woods is part of the American ‘task force’, a group of 11 players, former captains and PGA of America officials which has been put together to try and help put together a system which will help Love’s side regain a trophy they last won at Valhalla in 2008.

“He [Woods] was watching at home and he just had to call,” Love said. “He was talking about all the things he thought we needed to do, and he had a lot of ideas. We’re already doing a lot of planning for next year, and it’s great. It’s part of the whole process that started after Gleneagles. Everybody is thinking about it, which is great.”

Only Tom Lehman has been named as an assistant to Love. Woods recently had back surgery for a second time in two years and is now as low as 311th in the world.

Tiger in possible return to K Club

There is talk that Woods could be part of the field for next year’s Irish Open at the K Club, scene of Europe’s crushing Ryder Cup victory there in 2006.

Woods famously pulled his tee shot into the water on his opening shot but, it should be added, went on to win that match against Harrington and Montgomerie and top score for the visitors.

The K Club is also believed to be keen to host a revived Ladies Irish Open.

In a story in the Irish Examiner Woods is believed to have been in talks with tournament host McIlroy and his Rory Foundation since the Masters. And, as Woods’ career looks to be winding down, there has been mention of him playing more around the world in the years to come.

The tournament has also agreed a new three-year deal with its title sponsors, Dubai Duty Free, and McIlroy has confirmed that he will continue as tournament host for the next three years.

The event again takes place in May and, the following year, moves to Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.


Westwood’s resigns PGA Tour membership

Lee Westwood’s time in the States has come to an end after he resigned his membership of the PGA Tour.

Westwood left for the States looking like he was on the verge of finally winning a Major but returns 40 places lower on the world rankings at 44 and with just one top-three finish in 52 starts as a member.

The 42-year-old split from his wife, Laurae, in the summer and she now lives back in Scotland with their two children.

Westwood told the Daily Mail: “I think it’s fair to say that while living in the States my career didn’t move in the direction I wanted it to move, but obviously that’s not the reason why I am doing this,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to put in the time with all that’s been going on off the course, so it’s no surprise the game has suffered.”

He added that there were reasons to be cheerful though, adding: “But it’s nice to be back. There are a few events over here I’ve missed not playing in, and I’ve dropped a lot in the world rankings, so I need to address that.

“I’ve got a 42-year-old’s niggles but my back, hips, knees and shoulders are all in good shape, thankfully.”

“I think it’s fair to say that while living in the States my career didn’t move in the direction I wanted it to move" – Lee Westwood
Clarke tests captaincy mettle

Darren Clarke will get the chance to test his captaincy skills when he takes charge of Europe in January’s EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.

Clarke will go head-to-head with Jeev Milkha Singh, who will captain Asia, in the second staging of the event – the first ended in a 10-10 draw in.

Clarke said: “Both teams that are assembled will be desperate to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time – when we get to Kuala Lumpur Jeev will be trying to kick my butt and I will be trying to kick his. It’s going to be a great week – the guys are really looking forward to it already.”


And Davies heads up women’s side

Dame Laura Davies might have agreed to captain the Ladies European Tour side in a new team competition ‘The Queens’ in Japan in December but don’t expect that to lead to becoming the Solheim Cup skipper any time soon.

The 52-year-old will play and captain a nine-women team against the LPGA Tour of Japan, Korean LPGA Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf Inc.

“It’s a one of a kind tournament and I’ll enjoy being part of it,” said Davies. “I love Japan and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to go.”

But, as for her intentions to do likewise in the Solheim Cup, it doesn’t appear to be a possibility. In a recent interview she said: “It’s not that I couldn’t be bothered with all that goes with it but I would hate every second of it and that would be two years of my life being a misery.”


Rose driver puts Rory in the shade

There’s a new big boy in town, welcome Justin Rose to the big hitters’ club. The Englishman played with McIlroy in the first two rounds in Napa and his playing partner continued to be surprised by Rose’s new firepower.

Rose was 14th for Driving Distance on the PGA Tour, averaging over 303 yards, something he puts down to technique, time in the gym and, more recently, the new TaylorMade M1 driver.

Playing with McIlroy he hit seven drives over 310 yards.

“I haven’t seen him hit the ball this long,” McIlroy said. “Even at the Tour Championship I played with him and he was hitting it past me. That hasn’t really happened that much before.”

For Rose, now 35, his new-found gains could be the spark that help him to add to his US Open crown.

“Last year was the first year I’ve been inside the top 20 in driving,” Rose said. “I feel like my game is in the right place. I feel like I have five great years ahead of me.”


Anything but Dull for Schmitz

What a way to qualify for the Masters. Sammy Schmitz was two up in the Mid-Amateur final when he came to the 15th at John’s Island Club in Florida.

He then holed out with his tee shot at the 290-yard par 4 and, after closing out the match at the next, booked his ticket to Augusta.

Schmitz, a regional director for a health care services company in Minnesota, will tee it up with Rory, Spieth and co in April.

It is thought to be just the second hole-in-one at a par 4 in a USGA competition.

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