CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Davis Love III had a sec, so he called one of his analytics guys. And Tiger Woods answered.
They’re playing the Presidents Cup this week, Woods isn’t at Quail Hollow, but he’s apparently being kept in the loop. A multiple-time player in the event, and a winning player-captain in its last go-around, in 2019 in Australia, Woods has paused things for a while after playing three majors this year following his car crash early last year. Though his TV is on.
His phone, too.
“He’s spoken to a lot of people on the team,” Love said Thursday to a small group of reporters. “I was standing there on 6 tee for like an hour, a long time, so I called him and we talked for a while. And I said, well, at least you’re watching on TV. Call us if you see anything.
“He’s having fun.”
The last time we saw the 15-time major winner, he was waving to fans and walking across the Swilcan Bridge two months ago at St. Andrews, his play at the Open Championship over after 36 holes. From there, Woods wouldn’t commit to much as he continues to rehab multiple right-leg injuries, though he pledged to help Love.
He’s weighing in, though Love would not reveal what he and Woods talked about Thursday. He’s been on Zoom calls. He’s getting stat dumps. In a pre-tournament press conference earlier this month, Love notably brought up that latter point.
Tiger Woods, number cruncher.
“He’s very involved. He’s very helpful,” Love said. “We send him the analytics stuff we get and he makes his own pairings and sends them to us. I still have copies of the notes he was sending me back in 2015 to get ready for 2016. He’s a great — he’s his own analytics team and he gives us a lot of great information.
“He’ll be very helpful. He just can’t come to the Presidents Cup, but the text messages and the Zoom calls and the e-mails will be flying for sure.”
Comically, Woods also was the first to tell Webb Simpson he would be an assistant captain this week, before, you know, Love.
At the Wyndham Championship last month, Simpson shared a detailed play-by-play.
“It was last Tuesday and I was actually in Wilmington, North Carolina, with my family and we were at Trolley Stop, our favorite hot dog joint,” Simpson began. “My kids had already made the owner mad because they continued to open the door, so I’m stressing, it’s my turn to order, my phone rings, I looked down and it’s Tiger. I told Tiger I had to call him back, I got to order my hot dogs. So order my hot dogs, get out of there, call him back and yeah, he just kind of referenced me being from — you know, living in Charlotte, Quail Hollow’s my home, that he thought it would bring a lot to the team.
“It meant a lot, but honestly, I got done with the phone call and I’m like, I don’t know if that was official or not. I don’t know if he meant like he’s rooting for me to be assistant or if I am assistant.
“So I just waited, and I saw Zach [Johnson, another assistant captain] on Wednesday, or I guess yeah, the next day in Detroit, and Zach and I had a laugh about it. I said, Davis still hasn’t called me, so I don’t know. And then Davis gave me a shout I guess maybe the next night.
“But yeah, not that I feared not being a part of it, but there was a part of me that’s like, if I don’t make the team and Davis goes a different direction, that’s fine, but it’s going to be hard to see the Presidents Cup happen there and not be a part of it in some way. So I was really, really relieved to get a chance to be a part of it.”
As for the rest of this week? After Thursday’s first day, the Americans lead 4-1, but there are three more days of play. And three more days of broadcasts. So …
“He obviously misses it,” Love said Thursday. “The other night on a Zoom call, Fred [Couples, another assistant captain] said, ‘When you getting in?’ And Tiger said, ‘What did you say? I can’t hear you.’ I know he wishes he was here. You know, it’s not easy to bang around on carts and walk up and down the hills. I get it. But we’re including him.”