Fred Couples: Tiger Woods didn’t feel physically well enough to play Saturday of Presidents Cup

December 19, 2019

Tiger Woods finished 3-0 as a Presidents Cup playing captain and led the U.S. to its 11th victory in 13 tries, but the Americans’ victory didn’t seem as certain midway through the event.

The U.S. was down 6.5-3.5 after the first two days and the deficit spread to 9-5 after Saturday morning four-balls. Woods, who was 2-0 the first two days, didn’t play on Saturday morning and then created a buzz when he decided to bench himself for that afternoon as well.

On his Sirius XM Radio show, Fred Couples explained the assistant captains’ surprise when Woods said he was sitting out in the afternoon.

“At about 10 o’clock, he said, ‘Guys, my body is not going to let me go,” Couples said. “I’m not going to play this afternoon.’ Of course, [Steve] Stricker hopped on and said, ‘Tiger, please, can you go in right now and get loose and warm?’ He said, ‘Strick, I can’t do it.’ Zach [Johnson] said, ‘Tiger, are you sure, you sure?’

“And [Woods] said, ‘I believe in the team,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, so do I, but I believe that you need to be playing Saturday afternoon.”

Asked to justify his decision to sit the entire day at the time, Woods said “You have to do what’s best for the team, and I’m getting ready for the singles tomorrow.” He was asked a follow up if he was injured and said “No.”

“So that was like a 10-minute gasp and then we got over,” Couples said. “We regrouped and made a new team and they went out and won.”

The Americans won two and halved two of the Saturday afternoon matches to cut the lead to 10-8 and behind Woods’ opening 3-and-2 singles win over Abraham Ancer on Sunday won the singles portion to beat the Internationals 16-14 and keep the Cup.