Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Furyk gets core of Ryder Cup team, and obvious pick in Woods

Furyk gets core of Ryder Cup team, and obvious pick in Woods

Tiger Woods celebrates after making a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, on August 12, 2018.

Woods finished outside the top eight automatic slots for selection but is now nearly certainly going to be picked by Furyk.

Woods has already been named as a vice captain for the United States defence of the Ryder Cup in France next month, but his claims to be there in a playing capacity are now overwhelming. Tiger finished the tournament in second place. "He's probably the greatest player to ever play the game and to have the comeback that he's having is incredible". Really what we wanted to talk about today was the top eight players. "Tiger's been a vice-captain in the team room as a player - he serves that role in either direction", Furyk said.

While Woods has never been one to celebrate a loss, he couldn't help but feel good about the road he's taken over the past year - one that ended with a tantalizingly close call at Bellerive.

The main issue will be whether he retains his position as one of Furyk's right-hand men. This eight is exciting for any captain, and I love having this group. "Our captain has some decisions to make".

And if US captain Jim Furyk needs any more good news, it's this: His 12-man team is only two-thirds complete. Furyk wouldn't say yes and danced around the question, but his answer strongly hinted that Woods would be on the team as a player. He's Tiger Woods, and that carries a lot of weight. It was incredibly exciting, I thought, for everybody. "It would be hard".

Of his chances, Woods said: "I'm just very pleased at what I've done so far and now to be a part of the Ryder Cup conversation, going from where I've come to now in the previous year, it's been pretty cool".

Next year's PGA Championship will move to May, making it the second major of the year. His form will surely come under scrutiny before Furyk announces three of his picks on 4 September. Captain Jim Furyk will choose the final four spots.

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"I'm not sure the numbers are always that important when I look down the list", Furyk said.

"The biggest positive everyone is talking about is the fans, both in number and enthusiasm they had for an event", said Mike DeCola, general chairman for the PGA Championship. "But we're trying to identify the four players that fit with these eight", Furyk said.

Sunday's 64, his lowest final round in a major, was not quite enough to earn an automatic berth at Le Golf National. "I do want to be there as a player", Woods said Sunday.

"This guy started out the year injured", Furyk said, referring to a wrist injury that kept Koepka out of the Masters.

Bryson DeChambeau was at No. 9 and missed the cut. "He's playing very well". "The more hard the situation, the more pressure in a major championship, he has risen to that occasion now a number of times".

Four victories secured his European Tour card and a win in Turkey in 2014 propelled him back onto the U.S. PGA Tour where he picked up a first title the following year.

Koepka also has experience of playing the French Open at the venue for this autumn's match.

Sir Nick Faldo was in Missouri providing analysis for CBS and as the network reported its biggest audience figures for a US PGA since Woods was last in contention nine years ago - when he was beaten by YE Yang - it was smiles all round.

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