Weeks: Woods always a target in Ryder Cup matches

Bob Weeks
9/25/2012 11:45:35 PM
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MEDINAH, Illinois - He has won 14 majors and more than 70 tournaments around the world. He is the first golfer to earn more than $100 million, and held top spot on the Official World Golf Ranking longer than many players have careers on the PGA Tour.

Yet one thing Tiger Woods doesn't have is a winning record at the Ryder Cup. He sports a mediocre 13-14-2 mark and has only won the celebrated mug once in his illustrious career.

That's right, Tiger is one for six against the Europeans, and on Tuesday, he took full blame for his play.

"Well, certainly, I am responsible for that because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for," Woods said. "I believe I was out there for five sessions each time and didn't go 5-0 for our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that's part of being a team. I needed to go and get points for my team and didn't do it.

"Hopefully I can do that this week, hopefully the other guys do the same and we can get this thing rolling."

Of course over most of that period of time, Woods has been the best player in the game and his opponents no doubt get up anytime they have a chance to face him. There are never any easy matches in the Ryder Cup but the chance to knock off Woods has fueled more than one team. Winning a point is a great achievement; winning one when Woods is on the other team is almost worth two, at least in the Euro team room.

"It's a huge game for an underdog to play a Tiger Woods, and they get up for it," said Graeme McDowell. "They are not expected to win. When expectation levels drop, game tends to improve. A guy who plays Tiger Woods, or a player of that calibre, doesn't expect to win so he lets it all go and he plays out of his skin and gets the upset."

It's worth noting that Woods' record in singles play is much better than the team portion of the competition. Alone, he's 4-1-1. It's no secret that it's been tough to find a partner for him over the years. He's played with 11 different golfers over the years although just two in his last two Cups – Steve Stricker three times in 2010 and Furyk four times in 2006.

"Yeah, I think with as dominant as he was through most of those years, I think anyone would be a little surprised to see a .500," said Jim Furyk, who along with Phil Mickelson and Woods, are the Old Guard on the U.S. team. "But also that has a lot to do with   no one has an extremely good record on our team, would be my guess, and that would be because we haven't won a lot of these matches."

That may be a big chicken and egg, but the point is well made. And, as competitive as Woods is, losing again and again is not easy to swallow.

What may spur him on this week is the fact he no longer is No. 1, that he is facing idle chatter that his game is waning and that his time at the top is running out. Nothing would be sweeter for Woods than to secure four or even five points and win the Cup.

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