Tiger Woods is on course for the 2018 Ryder Cup – but as a player, and not as one of Jim Furyk’s vice-captains.
At one point it looked like Woods playing days in the Ryder Cup were over, he had already served as a vice-captain twice and was named for a third stint ahead of the tournament in France next month.
However, recent months have seen Woods return to his brilliant best – challenging to win both The Open and PGA Championship, but just coming up short.
Now as one of the form players in world golf, it is impossible for Furyk to ignore and he looks set to land one of his wild-card picks.
“I want to make sure I have five vice-captains there,” Furyk said. “That’s what we’re allowed and I see a lot of value in having all five there. So I will have five.
“Tiger’s been a vice-captain in the team room as a player. He’s priceless, to be honest with you. He’s been really a big help to our captains in both 2016 [Ryder Cup] and 2017 [Presidents Cup] from a strategy perspective and also really serving on the golf course, walking with players.
“I think it’s been a big boost having the best player maybe to ever live following your group and being there for support.
“I rely on every vice-captain heavily. With Davis Love serving as a captain twice and [Steve] Stricker being our Presidents Cup captain last year, they intimately know these players and know them very well. So to have them there is great.
“But Tiger serves that purpose as a vice-captain or a player and I’m looking forward to having his help.”
Woods is now heavy favourite to be one of the wild-cards for the US team and BoyleSports cut their odds all the way into 1/33 from quotes of 9/2 just a month ago.
Phil Mickelson is a hot 1/10 shot to pick up a wildcard selection from USA captain Jim Furyk with Bryson Dechambeau the other odds-on shot in the betting at 1/2. Matt Kuchar (6/4), Tony Finau (2/1) Xander Shauffele (9/4) and double major winner Zach Johnson (7/2) are also in contention.
Furyk is 10/11 to be the winning captain and oversee the first American side to bag two consecutive Ryder Cup successes since Tom Watson steered them to victory at The Belfry in 1993. Europe, who were once odds-on shots earlier in the season, are now 6/5 to come out on top on home soil for the sixth consecutive time.
Lawrence Lyons, Spokesperson for BoyleSports commented: “Tiger has hit really good form at the best time possible and it looks all but certain Jim Furyk will be unable to ignore him when it comes to his wildcard selections.
“We’ve had so many requests to back him since his USPGA performance that his price has crashed completely into 1/33 and we’re not far off suspending the betting on him completely.”