HOYLAKE, England – Even after his worst 72-hole finish in a major, Tiger Woods says he would pick himself for the Ryder Cup team.
His first major of the year, and second tournament since March 31 back surgery, wasn’t much of an audition for U.S. captain Tom Watson. Woods was never the same after opening the British Open with a 69. The mistakes kept piling up, and so did the big numbers, and he closed with a 3-over 75 on Sunday at Royal Liverpool.
“I just made too many mistakes,” Woods said.
He finished at 6-over 294, matching his highest score in the British Open. Only three players had a worse score, including U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer, and Woods finished in 69th place. His previous worst was a tie for 40th in the PGA Championship last year and the 2012 Masters.
Woods wound up 23 shots behind Rory McIlroy, by six shots his worst deficit ever in a major.
He didn’t even beat the 64-year-old captain. Watson birdied his last hole for a 68,
“It’s just one day. It’s a snapshot,” Watson said. “It’s not a big deal.”
Still, the concern was clear. Watson was speaking to the media as Woods was still on the course when he asked if Woods was shooting under par. Told that he was 4 over at the time, Watson said, “That’s not very good.”
Woods still has two tournaments left before the end of Ryder Cup qualifying at the PGA Championship. He is No. 72 in the standings, and aside from winning the final major of the year, his best bet is to be one of Watson’s three picks.
Asked if he would be inclined to pick him if were in Watson’s position, Woods said with a smile, “I would say yes.”
“But that’s my position, my take on it,” Woods said. “He’s the captain. Obviously, it’s his decision. He’s going to field the best 12 players that he thinks will win the cup back. And I hope I’m on that team.”
Woods is unlikely to make the FedEx Cup playoffs unless he picked up top-3 finishes at Firestone and the PGA Championship, and that means Watson would have to judge him on those tournaments unless Woods were to play elsewhere. Europe isn’t appealing, with events in Denmark, the Czech Republic and Italy.
“It would make it tougher for me to pick him if he’s not playing,” Watson said.
Watson is more inclined to see more from Woods before a rush to judgment.
Woods has missed only one Ryder Cup since his first one in 1997. That was in 2008, when he missed the second half of the season with reconstructive knee surgery. He was a captain’s pick in 2010 by Corey Pavin, following a year of personal turmoil that led to divorce and the hiring of a new swing coach.
Woods went 3-1 in Wales, his best performance in a Ryder Cup.
Woods said he felt he could contribute to the team and “that’s all you want as a pick.”