Wed, Oct 10, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Tiger eyes leading US at Ryder Cup — just not yet

AP, BELEK, Turkey

Team USA’s Tiger Woods hits from the edge of the gallery on the fourth hole during the Tiger Woods/Francesco Molinari singles match at Medinah Country Club on the final day of the Ryder Cup match between Team USA and Team Europe in Medinah, Illinois, on Sept. 30.

Photo: EPA

Tiger Woods is looking ahead to captaining the US following one of his poorest performances in a Ryder Cup.

The 14-time major winner disappointed by only securing a half-point in his seventh Ryder Cup appearance when Europe retained the title on Sept. 30 at Medinah. However, he hopes to play for the US team a little while longer, saying the captaincy can wait.

“One day, that would be fantastic and a huge honor to be a captain of a Ryder Cup team, but hopefully it doesn’t happen in the near future,” Woods said. “I still want to be playing on a lot more teams, but certainly one day, when my golfing life is slowing down and when it’s over, that would be a huge honor to be a part of a Ryder Cup from a captaincy side.”

Woods tied Raymond Floyd for the US record for most losses in foursomes (eight) after pairing with Steve Stricker on Friday. He also went down in the fourballs on Friday and Saturday afternoon with the same partner.

Having only played once on the winning team, in 1999, Woods is stinging at the latest loss.

“It didn’t set in for me for a few days as to what happened in Medinah. I had two sick kids I had to care for and they also had to go to school. They had fevers and I was focused on them for a couple of days,” he said. “I then started to talk to my friends and teammates, and once it all started to sink in — and the position we had been in and what transpired — yes, it was tough for a couple of days. I texted Freddie [Couples] and Steve [Stricker] quite a bit, and like anything, it is a tournament lost and you have to move on and focus on the next event. We lose far more than we win in this sport and you learn to move on. The next event is this week here in Turkey, and I’ve got a good matchup with Charl [Schwartzel].”

Woods arrived on Monday for the US$5.3 million Turkish Airways World Golf Finals after a 10-and-a-half-hour flight on his own private jet from Orlando.

It is his first visit to mainland Europe since 2003, and he landed to see numerous billboards promoting the eight-player event with first prize money of US$1.5 million that stated simply: “Tiger v Rory.”

“I don’t face Rory until Wednesday, but it’s just nice to be here as this is my first time in Turkey,” Woods said. “I am trying to play all around the world. I am playing in Malaysia in a few weeks’ time, and that will be nice as I have not played there since Mark O’Meara and I won the World Cup in ’99.”

Unlike Woods, Rory McIlroy has been to Turkey before, supporting tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki for a season-ending event.

Wozniacki is here to support McIlroy this time, and the top-ranked golfer is looking forward to getting back into the swing after the euphoria of the Ryder Cup.

“It’s going to be a very exciting week with eight of the best players in the world, and the people of Turkey are going to see an event they’ve never seen before,” McIlroy said. “I am still trying to come down from the high of the Ryder Cup, but it’s just nice to be here. I haven’t touched a club since the Ryder Cup as I’ve just been chilling out with Caroline, so I will get to the golf course early tomorrow morning and see if it’s still there.”

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