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Tiger Woods has dominated the game of golf on every level over his career, winning countless titles as an amateur -- he won three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur championships -- and 14 majors as a professional. But for whatever reason, he's never been able to translate his individual success to the Ryder Cup.
Woods, who's 13-14-2 in six appearances, has been incredibly mediocre in the biennial competition, helping the U.S. win just one Ryder Cup during that time. On Tuesday, Woods accepted responsibility for United States' poor record in recent years.
"Well, certainly I am responsible for [the lack of success against Europe] because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for," Woods said. "I believe I was out there, what, in five sessions each time and I didn't go 5-0 on our side.
"So I certainly am a part of that and that's part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team and I didn't do that.
"Hopefully I can do that this week, and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling."
The Ryder Cup is a team competition, so Woods certainly doesn't have to shoulder the entire blame for the U.S.'s lack of success. However, when you're the top-ranked player in the sport, people expect you to raise your game to a different level and be a difference maker -- something Woods has been unable to do.
If Woods is going to have success this week at Medinah -- site of his 1999 PGA Championship win -- U.S. captain Davis Love III will need to find a perfect partner for the 14-time major winner. If you break down Woods' record in six appearances, he's 4-1-1 in singles but an abysmal 9-13-1 in the team format.
Trying to find a partner for Woods has been Mission Impossible over the years, with captains pairing him with everyone from Phil Mickelson to Jim Furyk. But every pairing has failed to produce points.
"Tiger can play great and his partner not play well, or the other team play extremely well," said Love. "Somebody has to play in Tiger's bubble and I think that's the challenge.
"Steve Stricker has found his way into that pairing because he can handle everything that's going on around Tiger.
"It's easier to play with Dustin (Johnson) probably or it's easier to play with Jim Furyk than it is to pair a guy with Tiger because you get the extra attention and the extra pressure."
His recent success in the Presidents Cup with Steve Stricker -- the two were also paired together during Tuesday's practice round -- would lead you to believe he's the man for the job. Will their recent success translate to the Ryder Cup? Davis Love III sure hopes so.
If he can somehow figure out the Woods pairing puzzle this time around, he stands a great chance of wresting the Ryder Cup away from Europe on Sunday afternoon.
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