Interviews
Tiger Woods
Interviews

Europe

Tiger Woods - There's a lot of nerves

Tiger Woods is hoping to put his Ryder Cup demons to rest and secure a first American win on European soil for 25 years this week at Le Golf National.

The chances of the 14-time Major Champion making the biennial spectacular looked amost impossible 17 months ago when he underwent spinal fusion surgery that left him wondering if he would ever compete at the highest level again.

He was even named as a Vice Captain but after near-misses at both the Open Championship and US PGA Championship, he was handed a Captain's Pick, and claimed his first win in five years on Sunday at the Tour Championship on the US PGA Tour.

That brings him to Paris as one of the world's form players as he looks to improve on a Ryder Cup record that does not match up to his remarkable individual achievements.

In seven appearances he has just one win at Brookline in 1999 and 14½ points from 33 matches, having only been rested in one session - the Saturday morning foursomes at Medinah in 2012.

“My overall Ryder Cup record, not having won as a player since 1999, is something hopefully we can change,” he said. “It certainly is something that - looking back on my entire Ryder Cup career - that’s not something I enjoy or like seeing.

“We haven’t won as a US squad in 25 years on foreign soil so that will hopefully change this week as well.

“To have now earned my way onto the Team, to have not only the Captain, Vice Captains but the players want me on the Team because I was picked, means a lot to me.

"There's a lot of nerves. It's excitement. I mean, it really is. It's something we don't get to experience in that regard because basically it's the final round of a tournament on the very first hole and every match you tee it up. It's a different atmosphere and one that we absolutely love."

Woods and Phil Mickelson - Numbers One and Two in the World at the time - famously failed to gain a point when paired together in 2004 and while Mickelson would be open to revisiting that pairing, he is more concerened with overall victory.

The fellow Captain's Pick made his debut in 1995 - two years after the Americans tasted victory at the Belfry - and would love a win away from home in his 12th Ryder Cup.

“This is an event for all of us to cherish and be a part of," he said. "Everyone plays an integral part of the puzzle but because I’ve played in these for so long and not won over here it is one I would cherish the most.

“If we were to do that it would be something I’d remember for the rest of my life.”

Patrick Reed is playing in just his third Ryder Cup this week but he has already developed a reputation as a fearsome match player.

His famous shushing of the crowd at Gleneagles in 2014 and his patriotic fervour has earned him the nickname Captain America and the man currently second in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex is looking forward to experiencing European crowds again.

"They know where that line of respect happens and they always are above that line. They never actually cross it and get disrespectful," he said.

"That's one thing I cherish when I come overseas is they know how to give jabs and take shots at you back and forth, and they do it in a respectful way.

"I'm still trying to come up with something that I get to do and kind of keep my years going for three in a row and see if I can get booed again."