Tiger Woods is going to put his U.S. teammates and himself in a position to win the upcoming Ryder Cup over Europe with a dominant showing.
This isn't something that has been happening with regularity in recent history. Europe has gotten the better of this biennial matchup six of the last eight times, and the last time the U.S. won, in 2008, Woods did not participate.
Tiger will carry a 13-14-2 career Ryder Cup record into this event. Shockingly poor numbers for someone that has claimed 14 majors in that same time span and spent the majority of that time ranked No. 1 in the world.
Tiger is not trying to downplay these failures, even though he could. He is 4-1-1 in individual play at the Ryder Cup; his struggles have come when he is playing with a partner, which leaves him with a supremely viable excuse.
But instead of pointing this out, Woods, as Yahoo! Sports' Jay Hart points out, accepted blame for his team's failures.
I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for. I believe I was out there, what, in five sessions each time, and I didn't go 5-0 on our side. So I am certainly a part of that, and that's part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team and I didn't do that.
It is refreshing to see Woods, who's as isolated and self-motivated as any athlete out there, speak of the team.
That is exactly what makes the Ryder Cup so special, and it's what is needed to motivate these players to focus and succeed in a busy tournament that doesn't count for individual stats.
Woods seems to get that, and I'm sure he also realizes that a strong performance will help rebuild his image. In other words, Woods is going to be ready to go for this wonderful event. He has been playing fantastic golf as of late, and he will keep that rolling along.
The other big factor at play here is that Steve Stricker is also on this team, and he is one guy who appears equipped to play with Woods. We pointed out that Woods' Ryder Cup record suffers from the partner matches. A big part of that reason is that it is not easy to be Woods' partner.
There is a whole new world of scrutiny and pressure for whoever teams with Tiger, and it has not brought out the best in players. However, Stricker and Woods went 2-1 playing together last year and are both friendly and comfortable with each other.
The pairings aren't set for the Ryder Cup yet, but I'd be shocked if Woods and Stricker are not together. It would be as equally shocking if they do not leave with a winning record.
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