The Ryder Cup is more than a year away, but that doesn't mean American captain Davis Love III can't already be talking about it. And who else would he be talking about but Tiger Woods, the man that hasn't played golf since the Players Championship because of a one-two punch of injuries that includes his knee and Achilles.
Love was asked by 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh about Tiger's chances of making the 2012 team (he's currently fourth in points for all the Americans), and his answer was as pro-Tiger as you can be.
"It depends how his knee is and his Achilles and if he's out of that boot. I think if Tiger can walk the golf course, he's going to be on that team because he always seems to play well if he's not hurt. We're obviously a year-plus away. Hopefully he's going to be healthy. I saw him say the other day he's not going to play until he's 100 percent. He's saying the right things. Hopefully he's getting better and feeling better. … If we can get him healthy, I'm sure he'll be on the team."
A few interesting points there by Davis on Tiger. First, "he always seems to play well if he's not hurt"? Before his 2010, when Tiger went 3-1-0 in their loss to the Europeans, Tiger's record was 9-13-2, not exactly awe-inspiring. And to compound on that, if not for his great singles record in that event, Tiger's numbers would be even worse, as he has always seemed to struggle during the first two days of team competition.
Now, with that said, would I want to put an American squad out there without Tiger? Absolutely not. Even if he isn't one of the top four or five Americans playing golf right now (and I'd probably say he isn't even in the top-20 right this second), he still invokes an amount of confidence and experience that you just can't find with some of the other possible picks.
Tiger will be on every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team from now until he decides not to play, just because he's Tiger and the options for American captains are, sadly, limited. But if he isn't healthy, and can't show some consistency heading into those events, I'm sure it'll a lot tougher of a pick for captains in the future.
But hopefully, for all of us, Tiger will be walking just fine by September of 2012.