What kind of Ryder Cup role will Tiger Woods have? Zach Johnson provides clarity

Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson at the 2008 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort.

We have lots of Ryder Cup questions. Who will make the teams? Will LIV golfers be eligible? And what kind of role will Tiger Woods have?

Ryan Young/PGA TOUR

It’s officially a Ryder Cup year, meaning all eyes will be on Rome and Marco Simone Golf & Country Club from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. But there will be plenty of chatter before then, too, as there’s lots of questions golf fans will want answered.

Who will make the teams? Will LIV golfers be eligible? Can the U.S. finally win a road matchup? And, another big one, what kind of role will Tiger Woods have?

Woods has played on eight Ryder Cup teams in his career (and was an assistant captain at Hazeltine in 2016) but hasn’t been a member of the team since 2018, when the U.S. lost in Paris. He didn’t play at Whistling Straits in 2021 due to his recovery from a car accident, although he still contributed to the team from afar.

He’s already said he doesn’t plan to play as much anymore, so qualifying on points alone will be almost impossible. Woods said at the Hero World Challenge last month his goal for 2023 would be to play in the majors and maybe one or two other events.

U.S. captain Zach Johnson, playing this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, was asked about Woods’ chances of competing in Rome.

“I would only contemplate having him on the team if he felt he was putting up some numbers and some scores, No. 1, showing some sign of being competitive,” Johnson said on Wednesday in Honolulu. “And then No. 2, that discussion would be had with the other guys that are a part of that team, and specifically him. If there is anything I trust in Tiger Woods, is that he’s extremely invested in this team and the future Cups. Extremely invested. I can’t speak that enough.

“And then I think he would do anything and everything for betterment of the team. I assume he would say — I don’t like basing on assumptions — but I’m confident that he would say, ‘Yeah, I can play,’ or ‘No, I can’t.'”

Johnson added that this year’s Ryder Cup course could pose a problem for Woods, too. While he said it’s fun in a cart, it’s no easy walk. He even called it hillier than Augusta National.

Woods, who turned 47 last month, has played in 37 career Ryder Cup matches and compiled a 13-21-3 record. His last official involvement in a team event was when he captained the U.S. to a win at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. If he’s not a player in Rome, it’s likely he’ll be added as an assistant captain. He’s also in line to captain his own Ryder Cup squad down the road as well.

“We’re communicating with him quite a bit. Actually trying to get a phone call here shortly, but nothing of any substance,” Johnson said. “He’s a part of the team. It’s just a matter of to what degree, right?”

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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