Woods handed Ryder ultimatum

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Corey Pavin last night effectively handed Tiger Woods an ultimatum "to improve" in his next two events – or miss the Ryder Cup.

On Monday the US captain told a press conference: "I can think of no cons" when asked about the world No 1's suitability as a wild card. But speaking to Five Live yesterday Pavin indicated that Woods' form is an obstacle to selection. Since finishing fourth in the US Open in June, Woods has come outside the top 20 at the Open and USPGA and last-but-one in Akron two weeks ago.

"I was a lot more encouraged with his performance at the USPGA than at the Bridgestone that's for sure," said Pavin. "But having said all that, I need to see how he's going to play in his next tournament. He's not a guaranteed pick. Is he high on my list? Absolutely. But I need to see him to improve." Later he said: "I still need to see him playing him a little better. I'll be talking to him and evaluating his game. Come September 7th I'll have a hard decision to make."

At 108th in the FedEx Cup standings, Woods is not even guaranteed a spot in next week's 125-man field of The Barclays. But if he does scrape in, only the top 100 on the points list will advance into the second week of the end-of-season play-offs. Yesterday Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, confirmed next week's hit-or-bust status. "If he has a poor week, like he did at the Bridgestone, then his year is finished," said the Kiwi.

However, it would be stunning if Woods was not one of Pavin's four picks for Celtic Manor.