Fred Couples: Why the Tiger Woods Decision Is a Risk/Reward That's Worth It

Immer Chriswell@@immerrangeCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2011

Fred Couples: Why the Tiger Woods Decision Is a Risk/Reward That's Worth It

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    With Fred Couples heading up the President's Cup team for 2011, he's already made one defining move in choosing Tiger Woods.

    That leaves him with just one captain's pick to spare. Phil Mickelson has no problem with Tiger being picked as long as Keegan Bradley is picked. However, Phil may not have that satisfaction should Rickie Fowler, a match-play expert, need a captain's pick.

    This brings up the question: does Tiger Woods deserve to be a pick?

    The answer is a resounding yes. Let's just take a look at why this move by Couples is worth the chance.

Ranking

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    The President's Cup ranking system is pretty well-founded. It's based on money made. 2009-2010's earnings are taken as one dollar equals one point. In 2011, that dollar is worth double points.

    Tiger's been barely on the course for two of the three years listed, and without a major victory, he's in 28th. It's not impressive, unless you think of the debacles Tiger has endured. The way he has hit the ball, he should be below 50th. But he isn't. Why?

    Because he has shown up in the big events to post some good numbers. He has a few MCs, but most PGA Tour players do. In fact, only 11 players this year made the cut in all four majors. So when Tiger plays, he's about average compared to a tour player (maybe a tad generous).

    The President's Cup isn't as big as the Ryder Cup, but it's still important, and Tiger will be determined to post impressive wins to prove that he's got it together. That's what you saw at Augusta this year.

Scoring Average

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    Despite hitting the ball horrendously, Woods is still in the top 60 in scoring average. Let's think of that. We're making fun of Tiger Woods for having a horrible season by his standards, but by the rest of the tour's standards he's actually above average.

    It's just more proof that Tiger isΒ that much better than everyone else. Be realistic here: If you hit the ball the way Tiger Woods did off the tee on the courses he does, you're looking at a 100. He is 188 on tour in driving accuracy.Β 188 on tour in scoring average is 73.20. And that man (Derek Lamely) hits the ball as bad as Tiger off the tee.

    So let's remember, Tiger's game in shambles still smokes most the tour.

    His game may not be in the best of shape, but let's remember that...

More Blow Up Holes Hurting Than Bogey Stretches

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    In 2009, Tiger's blow up would maybe be a double bogey once a tournament. At most. However, Tiger's made a habit of having two or three holes a round where he throws up the big numbers this year.

    In the President's Cup, he can afford some of those. Because instead of throwing up a triple and having to get three strokes back to get even, Tiger (or Tiger and his partner) can lose by three strokes and they only have to win by one the next hole to get back to even.

    Plus, in team play, those blow-up holes will be limited...

Steve Stricker

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    The calmest hand on tour. You'll never lose a ball on the golf course with Strick. And he's been Tiger's partner in Ryder and President's Cup play for a while, and they have enjoyed a lot of success.

    It really is a complimentary duo. In best ball, you have Stricker, who never really makes a big mistake. That covers up for Tiger's mistakes, but it also takes advantage of Tiger's hot stretches. Plus, Stricker can heat up on his own as well.

    Alternate shot may be a little more hairy, but Stricker is the kind of player who can avoid making mistakes and make up for those that Tiger may make.

He's Earned It

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    It's a right of passage at this point still. Tiger is still one of the best, despite not playing like it. He is a match-play force and is well liked by the team at events like this.

    At the most recent Ryder Cup, Tiger had similar struggles and still compiled a 3-1 record, including a singles victory.

    It's worth the risk because even if Tiger doesn't play great, I'm willing to bet there's a US player who compiles a worse record.

    Most people want to see Tiger succeed. So why not give him the chance to do so? Putting him in the President's Cup gives Tiger more competitive golf to grow his confidence.

    And Tiger needs that growth to pick up...fast.

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