FedEx should hold fate
It depends on how Tiger Woods performs at the FedEx Cup playoff opener in two weeks. If he can't play his way into the second event — he'll need to make up at least eight places in the standings — then his troubles are too many for my risk/reward meter.
Woods hasn't had a top-20 finish since tying for fourth at the U.S. Open. Meanwhile, here's a list of Americans with at least three top-20s in that span who aren't on the roster: Nick Watney, Sean O'Hair, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Moore, Vaughn Taylor, Matt Bettencourt. They have results, and we're discussing Woods?
Yeah, none of them has a major title or has been No. 1 in the rankings. But the Ryder Cup is about who's playing well now, and Woods has been an average PGA Tour player since Father's Day. Plus, an early FedEx Cup ouster will mean he's coming in cold.
He's just not worthy
As much as I hate to disappoint Jim Gray, U.S. captain Corey Pavin should not select Tiger Woods. Pavin should pick players who merit the honor and can help the U.S. team the most in Wales. Woods isn't in that class.
Yes, he played better at the PGA Championship, tying for 28th, compared with the week before at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he beat one player in the field of 80. And, yes, he's still No. 1 in the world rankings.
But he ranked last in driving accuracy (21 of 56 fairways) at Whistling Straits. That's not what you want in match play, especially in the alternate-shot format. And his putting — an essential for Ryder Cup success — has been substandard.
Woods is No. 12 in Ryder Cup points, but most of them came last year.
This year he's not the same Woods and not Ryder Cup worthy.
Finally finding the drive
One week ago, with Tiger Woods hitting it sideways at Firestone and playing the "I'm-too-cool-for-a-captain's-pick" game, Corey Pavin had every reason to take a pass.
Now? No way.
Woods, who knows something about rehabs, found his game at Whistling Straits. Certainly not his "A" game, and not really his "B." But even at C-plus, Woods ranks in America's top 12.
And more to the point, Woods actually wants to go to Wales to represent the Red, White and Blue. A week ago it was safe to wonder if he wanted to lock his clubs in his car. (OK, his SUV.)
The final reason for Pavin to select Woods: so the captain won't get asked about snubbing him. That would get old very quickly.
Can't justify a snub
The Morning Call
As most Ryder Cup captains do, Corey Pavin is turning his ceremonial position into a job that requires a Situation Room.
Agonizing over Tiger Woods will be high atop Pavin's list.
"I don't think there's any cons," Pavin said Monday, ignoring Woods' 2010 season, his 10-13-2 Ryder Cup record and his potential unpopularity with the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) at Celtic Manor. But if Pavin allows any of that to influence him negatively, he's employing a management style that makes Tony La Russa look cavalier.
If he had two picks, perhaps Pavin could justify not selecting Woods. But not with four. Woods has lost one singles match in five Ryder Cups and is the quintessential match-play competitor of his generation.