Tiger Woods’ record at the Ryder Cup jumps out as the big disappointment on his career CV. He has been on the winning team just once in six appearances, his individual record of 13 wins, 14 defeats and two halves a poor reflection of his talents that leads many to assume he is not suited to team golf.
The Americans’ most recent victory, at Valhalla in 2008, coincided with Woods’ injury-induced spell on the sidelines and it is hard to argue against the suggestion that the intimidating presence of one of the greatest players of all time, with an ego to match, is more of a hindrance than an inspiration.
Woods should be a huge asset, so it is the player who helps gets the best out of the star man who is the American key. Captain Davis Love III obviously has a big role to play in this regard, but the man who completed the skipper’s wild-card allocation could hold the key to the home side’s fortunes in the Betfair Ryder Cup 2012.
Love’s selection of Steve Stricker ended the debate about Woods’ likely playing partner at Medinah. ‘Mr September’ is known for his unassuming nature and team ethic and proved to be the ideal foil for Woods at Celtic Manor in 2010, when the pair won two times out of three together. They both also won their singles matches.
Stricker, a favourite of the golf betting community, obviously needs to concentrate on his own game as well as his role as energising Woods in his first home Ryder Cup since 2004. That clash is remembered for Hal Sutton’s disastrous decision to twice pair Woods with rival Phil Mickelson and Love is on safer ground with the Stricker-Woods partnership, which won all four matches when in operation at the 2011 Presidents’ Cup.