Ryder Cup: Tiger Woods shoulders responsibility for USA's recent poor record

 

Tiger Woods today admitted he shoulders responsibility for the United States' poor recent record in the Ryder Cup ahead of this week's contest in Chicago.

Europe have won four of the last five biennial contests, with Woods absent through injury from the home side's sole victory in that sequence at Valhalla in 2008.

The former world number's one only win in six appearances came in the controversial "Battle of Brookline" in 1999, while he has a losing overall record of played 29, won 13, lost 14 and halved two.

Asked if he was responsible for Europe's success in a time when he personally dominated the individual game, Woods said: "Well, certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for.

"I believe I was out there in five sessions each time and I didn't go 5-0 on our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that's part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team, and I didn't do that. Hopefully I can do that this week and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling."

Woods is not alone in possessing a losing record however, with the experienced pair of Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk also struggling to translate individual success into team triumphs.

Mickelson, who is appearing in a US-record ninth Ryder Cup at Medinah, has won 14 points from 34 matches overall and amazingly just two wins from his last 14 fourball or foursome matches.

Furyk is making his eighth appearance this week but has won just 10 points of a possible 27 overall and four from his last 18 fourball or foursome clashes.

"In order to win Cups, you have to earn points and we certainly have not earned points," Woods added. "And on top of that, I think that Phil, Jim and myself have been put out there a lot during those years. So if we are not earning points, it's hard to win Ryder Cups that way."

Graeme McDowell, who secured the winning point at Celtic Manor two years ago, believes Woods is often the victim of "lesser" players raising their game and playing without pressure.

"I liken it to playing Premiership football," McDowell added. "Any lesser team that comes to play these guys, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal... they have a tendency to raise their game, because it's a huge game for an underdog to play a Tiger Woods.

"And they get up for it. 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."

McDowell's team-mate and likely playing partner Rory McIlroy is of course now the world number one, a fact which makes him a "target" this week according to Furyk and the winning captain at Valhalla, Paul Azinger.

"It's part of being consistent," Woods added. "It's part of being ranked number one, it's part of winning major championships. You're always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that's just part of the deal. That's a fun challenge.

"I certainly have relished it over the years and I'm sure he's going to relish it this week."

Another aspect of this week that Woods seemingly relishes is having former basketball legend Michael Jordan around the US team, as the former Chicago Bulls star has done in several previous Ryder Cups.

But US captain Davis Love will not be encouraging a repeat of the time the duo first met.

Woods explained: "The first time I had ever been around him, he had fed me some beverages (laughter) and the next day was a little bit more difficult than I would like it to be.

"But for him to want to be part of this is special for us. I guess for me, because I consider him like my big brother, gotten to know him so well over the years, I may take that for granted. But some of the other guys who don't really know Michael, I think it's a real treat for them."

PA

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