Tiger Woods an assistant captain at 2022 Presidents Cup? Davis Love III hopes ‘he comes back and starts playing’

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SAINT SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia — Davis Love III may be serving as Team USA’s captain of the 2022 Presidents Cup, but he wasn’t the first choice for the job, and he’s OK with that.

The other guy was none other than Tiger Woods, who led the American side to a spirited comeback in 2019 at Royal Melbourne in Australia. What will his role be next fall at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina?

“It would have been a great captaincy for Tiger to continue on,” Love said. “At the time we were discussing it, he said, ‘No, I’m playing really good, I’m gonna make the team, and I enjoyed Australia being playing captain, but I want to be a player on the team.’ So, his role is whatever his role wants to be. If Tiger calls me up and says, ‘Hey, you’re kicked out, I’m taking over,’ that’s Tiger’s role. If he wants to be an assistant, you know, I would hope that he comes back and starts playing and can make that a goal, to be on the team. He was a big part of our Ryder Cup.”

Those conversations regarding the captain’s role happened before Woods was involved in a car accident in February that has kept him sidelined ever since. During the Ryder Cup in September, Woods served in an unofficial advisory role.

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Tiger Woods: Timeline of events a year after we last saw him (officially) at the November Masters

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

“It took us a while to get him to the point where he would engage,” Love said. “He had a rough start to the year, but once we got him in the loop, he was a big help and a lot of fun for the Ryder Cup and for the team. Obviously the guys were going to see him down there in south Florida all summer, but leading up to the Ryder Cup, obviously he had a watch party at his house. He can do whatever and I know he’ll be a big part of it.”

Love noted that he and the rest of the Team USA leadership has learned a lot of why he beat them all these years.

“Tiger went from a guy we didn’t know to now he’s a leader and an inside guy, so he has good information on some of the players that we don’t know,” Love said. “He was really helpful in captains’ picks. I think for me in ’16 and then as an assistant captain, he’s very helpful in strategy and pairings. He’s a tactician, he watches a lot more golf than I do, so he has a lot of information.

“What I’m amazed with him and with Phil, with Jack Nicklaus is the incredible memory of things that happened in the past. I will go, ‘Yeah, I played the Ryder Cup in ’97. That was at Valderrama.’ Tiger and Phil remember every shot and what everybody else did.”

Love recalled that during his victorious captaincy at the 2016 Ryder Cup that it was Woods, serving as an assistant at Hazeltine, who helped him be more decisive when it came to submitting his pairings.

“One of the great things Tiger does is, (he’ll say,) ‘Would you please make a decision?’ That’s really good for me,” Love said. “Like quit waffling around, you know what you want to do, let’s make a decision and stick with it.”