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Tiger Woods Will Be a Part of the 2023 Ryder Cup, But How Remains to Be Seen

Morning Read on Sports Illustrated 10/4/2022 Alex Miceli

One year out from the matches in Rome, U.S. captain Zach Johnson said Woods's presence will be felt regardless of whether he's actually there.

Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson (pictured at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris) will be aligned in some way at next year's Ryder Cup, even if they're not in Rome together. Matt Dunham/AP Photo © Provided by Morning Read on Sports Illustrated Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson (pictured at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris) will be aligned in some way at next year's Ryder Cup, even if they're not in Rome together. Matt Dunham/AP Photo

ROME—Tiger Woods is still the main attraction in professional golf.

Even if he can’t swing a club or walk down a fairway, golf fans and non-golf fans alike want to see the GOAT.

So it was no surprise at the Ryder Cup one-year-out gala dinner when one of the questions in a Q&A with U.S. captain Zach Johnson was about Woods and his involvement in 2023.

The question was asked again at the Ryder Cup press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

“Tiger, over the last seven, eight years, we've just gotten closer and closer,” Johnson said. ”Given who he is and what he's all about, I can't tell you right now, I don't know ... if he will be here next year but he will be a part of this team in some capacity. He will be—he already is, frankly.”

Since his February 2021 car accident, Woods has played in three events, all majors this year: the Masters in April (finishing 47th), the PGA Championship in May (withdrawing after three rounds) and the British Open at St. Andrews (missed cut) in July.

Since then, Woods has not played a competitive round of golf and his no-show at the Presidents Cup in Charlotte was a bit unusual.

He has a tight relationship with U.S. captain Davis Love III, and Love understood why he wasn’t at Quail Hollow, where he would need to ride a cart up and down the hills with a leg that was once nearly amputated, because walking is too difficult.

“I was standing on the 6th tee for like an hour … a long time, so I called him,” Love said on Thursday’s first day of the Presidents Cup. “I said, ‘well at least you’re watching everything on TV. Call us if you see anything.'”

Johnson served as an assistant captain with Woods, who was a playing captain, in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne and both were vice captains for Steve Stricker at the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Those two cups have created a bond that Johnson is depending on, no matter if Woods is in an official or unofficial capacity in Rome next year.

“He and I will be in constant communication,” Johnson said. “I will welcome that. He has great ideas. Has great encouragement. He's always positive.”

Johnson will likely have a veteran team, which will mitigate to some extent Woods's involvement.

But Johnson believes Woods's influence in the process starts now, through the process of picking a team and pairing them up.

None of that requires Woods to be anywhere in particular, but just armed with a cell phone.

In fact, Johnson doesn’t believe Woods has given a trip to Rome much thought, and Johnson has not either, since he's just coming off a victorious Presidents Cup that consumed most of his time.

And if Woods does make it to Rome, it would be a bonus for the U.S. team and the Ryder Cup, but it won’t be mandatory.

“His presence will be known regardless of where he is,” Johnson said. "I don't think it matters if it's here or there. The Ryder Cup is the most uncomfortable golf I have ever played. And so my role is to make these guys walk down a road that is ideally comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation.

"I know Tiger is the same way. He and I will discuss that. He and I will go through that and with our other vice captains, and Team USA.”

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