A measure of how far Tiger Woods' stock has fallen was provided yesterday when the American Ryder Cup captain declared that he was not a certainty to make his team. Corey Pavin warned the world No 1 that he is not guaranteed a spot in October's match in Newport and will have to play his way on like every other player.
"I'm not going to treat Tiger any different than any other player," said Pavin. "He's certainly not going to be an automatic pick. He's just going to be treated like everyone else. I'd love to have him on the team but I want him to be playing well."
These were surprising comments, particularly as Pavin will have four wildcard picks at his disposal when he names his Celtic Manor dozen in September.
Woods, 34, is 11th in the qualifying race and only the top eight head to Newport on merit. He has played only three tournaments since returning from his self-imposed, five-month exile and a fortnight ago pulled out of the Players Championship during the final round, citing a neck injury.
Meanwhile, Simon Khan was yesterday reminded how fickle golf is. After winning £640,000 at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday, the Englishman was the unlucky one of six in a play-off to decide who would go to next month's US Open.
Khan managed to shake off the exertions, and the celebrations, of landing the biggest tournament on the European Tour to record a seven-under total in the 36-hole qualifying event at Walton Heath, which saw 77 players fight it out for 11 places.
Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke both missed out and so, too, did Khan, but only after a near heroic performance after what he admitted was "hardly any sleep". A morning 67 was followed by a 70, but the other five in the shootout all birdied the first extra hole.