It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Tiger Woods rules himself out of Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods has told Tom Watson not to pick him for the US Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles next month due to injury.
Woods, 38, has ruled himself out of contention after failing to qualify for the team outright, and he has now informed the PGA of America and Ryder Cup captain Watson that, after managing just four tournaments all season following back surgery in March, he does not wish to be considered for one of the three remaining places.
Personal issues and a series of injuries since winning his last major event in the 2008 US Open has badly disrupted his career. Woods’ back surgery on March 31 has left the Nike player unable to participate at 100% and has taken a mental and physical toll.
“While I greatly appreciate Tom thinking about me for a possible captain's pick, I must take myself out of consideration,” Woods said in a statement on www.pga.com.
“I've been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They've advised me not to play or practice now.
“I'm extremely disappointed that I won't be ready for the competition.
“The U.S. Team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my best. I'll be cheering for the U.S. Team. I think we have an outstanding squad going into the matches.”
Woods did not return to action until the end of June after his operation and missed the cut in the Quickens Loans National before finishing 69th in The Open at Royal Liverpool – his worst 72-hole finish in a major in the paid ranks.
He was forced to withdraw after hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole of his final round at WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 11 days ago and was a serious doubt to even take part in the US PGA Championship this past week.
But despite the 14-time major winner missing just his fourth cut in 66 majors as a professional after suffering yet more back trouble at Valhalla, Tom Watson insisted he was still in his thoughts and that he trusted Woods to be honest about his physical condition should he be picked.
Now Watson knows Woods will not be an option when he makes his picks on September 2, leaving the door open for others to stake their claim.
“My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive, and I hope that he'll return to the game very soon,” said Watson.
“Of course, I'm disappointed that Tiger Woods has asked not to be considered for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, and that his health is not where he would like it to be.
“However, I think we can all agree that we need Tiger Woods in this great sport, and he has taken the high road by informing me early on in the selection process.
“My focus will remain on identifying three players to join the U.S. team and give us the best chance for success at Gleneagles.”
Tiger Woods has been a constant in the US Ryder Cup team, playing in every consecutive event since 1997 and winning at Brookline and Valhalla in 1999 and 2008 respectively, while he also had a record of 13 wins, 17 losses and three halves.
Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson are the nine automatic qualifiers for a place on the 12-man American team to play Europe.
Keegan Bradley looks a solid shout for a wildcard pick given his three wins from three matches alongside Phil Mickelson at Medinah in 2012, but Watson has injury concerns over Kuchar and possible pick Jason Dufner.
Kuchar hauled himself out of the US PGA before the start with back spasms, while Dufner’s title defence ended in a whimper as he lasted just 10 holes with a long-standing neck problem which saw him drop out of the automatic places.
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