Tiger Woods, who will without a doubt be Corey Pavin's first captain's pick on September 7 for the American Ryder Cup team, is thought of by some to have a less than stellar record in match play. Specifically, the Ryder Cup and the President's Cup.
Let's dispel those notions right now. Tiger Woods has had quite a proficient record in match play when playing for his country.
In fact, one would be hard pressed to find another current American player already on the 2010 team, or vying for a spot on the team, who has done any better.
Don't buy it? Well, let's look at some numbers.
Tiger's Ryder Cup record is 10-13-2. Not impressed? How about this: His singles match play record in Ryder Cups is 3-1-1. A little more impressive, eh? The match play record that has been less than Tiger-like is when he is paired with someone.
If you were to go back and look at those matches over the years, it is usually Tiger who is playing well and his partner who is struggling. Tiger has been the victim of some poor pairing choices by different captains over the years. Some of the pairings that have not worked well have been Tiger with Stewart Cink, Tiger with Jim Furyk, and certainly Tiger with Phil Mickelson.
One player Tiger has done well playing with in recent years, especially at the President's Cup, is Steve Stricker. Stricker recently said how much he would like to play with Tiger again at this year's Ryder Cup.
"I would love to play with him again," Stricker said at the PGA Championship. "The reason it works is I think we get along with each other very well. I think we complement each others games nicely."
Tiger's President's Cup record is 13-11-1, including a 5-0 record less than a year ago in leading the U.S. to a win over the international team.
Here is a quick breakdown of some of the other veteran players on the U.S. side, and how they have fared in the two competitions.
Phil Mickelson: Ryder Cup 10-14-6; President's Cup 11-13-9.
Jim Furyk: Ryder Cup 13-8-2; President's Cup 8-13-2.
Stewart Cink: Ryder Cup 4-7-2; President's Cup 8-4-1.
Steve Stricker: Ryder Cup 0-2-1; President's Cup 5-5.
Justin Leonard: Ryder Cup 2-4-6; President's Cup 6-10-2.
Yes, Justin Leonard, who seems like he has had all kinds of match play success for the red, white and blue, has struggled over the years in both competitions.
The point is clearly this: No one on the U.S. side has had a lot of success in these two events, and if they have done well in one they haven't done well in both.
Leonard will not be on the 2010 team, and Cink may not be either. Several of the players that will be representing the squad have no Ryder Cup experience at all, or very little. The only meaningful Ryder Cup experience on this team will be Mickelson, Furyk and Woods.
Tiger has joked recently that Pavin should save him for the singles matches.
"I think I have a chance of maybe helping out in singles," he said following the last round at the PGA Championship... "I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully Corey will pick me."
It is no longer a question of will Corey Pavin will pick Tiger. The only question is, can Mickelson and Furyk and the unproven young lads step up and help Woods?