If Tiger Woods could not care less about team events like the Ryder Cup, as many critics have charged over the years, he sure has a funny way of showing it.
Woods, who won only a half-point in four matches during last week’s go-from-ahead loss to the Europeans at Medinah, not only apologized to the squad’s rookies for his performance but said Monday it was “tough” to deal with the upset and that he hoped one day to skipper the U.S. entry to the biennial competition.
After the United States squandered its 10-6 edge to the Europeans on singles Sunday, Woods met with the four first-timers -- Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner, and Webb Simpson -- to say he was sorry for his power outage during the three-day event, according to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte.
“Brandt shared with me [during a recent fundraiser] that Tiger got all the rookies in a room, closed the door and personally apologized to everyone for not doing more, for not getting the points he needed to get to get a U.S. victory,” Rosaforte said Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” program. “For people who don’t think Woods really cares, whenever that turn or that pivot occurred in his career, it has fully turned.”
Bringing up the rear in what became a meaningless final singles contest, Woods halved his match with Francesco Molinari after the Euros had completed a shocking comeback to beat the Americans, 14.5 to 13.5. The world No. 2 also recorded an 0-3 record in team competition with partner Steve Stricker.
"I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions, but I did not do that. It was tough," Woods told reporters on Monday ahead of this week’s World Golf Final event in Turkey. "Stricks and I went out there and tried to earn points for the team and didn't do that and it was frustrating.
"We had a four-point lead and we went 0-3," said Woods, who is in Turkey for the $5.3 million “Tiger v. Rory” exhibition that involves six other top players as well. "If we could have earned a couple of points, it would have been a pretty good lead going into Sunday's singles."
Woods, who has played on just one winning Ryder Cup team -- the 1999 unit that came from four points back to defeat Europe -- in seven starts, said the realization of what went down hit him later.
“It probably did not set in for a few days because I had two sick kids to take care of. I was focused on them,” Woods said about how he spent his time immediately following his team's Medinah meltdown. “Then I started to talk to my friends, guys on the team, and once it started sinking in, the position we were in and what had transpired, it got a little tough for a couple of days.
"I texted Freddie [Couples, an assistant captain] quite a bit and Stricks as well," he said. "Then, like anything, it's a tournament loss and you have to move on to the next event. We lose a lot more than we win in this sport and you learn to move on."
As for the captaincy, Woods, who owns a 13-17-3 Ryder Cup record and said prior to the event that he shouldered much of the blame for the Americans’ poor showing in previous cup matches, said he hoped to be a member of a few more teams but looked forward to leading the U.S. into golf battle -- someday.
"One day, that would be fantastic," Woods said. "It would be a huge honor -- hopefully it doesn't happen in the near future. I would like to be able to play for a lot more teams, but certainly one day when my career is slowing down or it's over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side."
Rather shocking display of team spirit from a guy pundits (Johnny Miller, Roger Maltbie) claim plays only for himself because of his “lone-wolf mentality."