Tiger Woods won’t hit a single shot in the upcoming Ryder Cup, but U.S. captain Davis Love III believes his illustrious vice skipper will whip fans into the same kind of frenzy he did during his glory days and beyond just by navigating a buggy around Hazeltine.
"I can’t imagine what it is going to be like to have Tiger Woods on a golf cart watching a group of guys play golf," Love said during a Ryder Cup "Town Hall" on SiriusXM radio on Tuesday. "Half the fans are going to be watching Tiger watch golf, they’re not going to be watching the golf."
Just half the fans? That’s a rather conservative estimate for the number of spectators who’ll be elbowing each other for those precious spots at the front of the ropes just to catch a glimpse of the former world No. 1 at the wheel of a buggy.
Remember how, before Tiger would even finish putting out, throngs of fans would move as one to get prime posts for his next tee shot? Cap’n Love sure does.
"If Tiger goes to check pin positions," wondered DL3, "how much of the gallery is he going to take with him?"
Is the correct answer "everyone," Davis?
Love tapped Woods, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker to be assistants for his return as steward of the U.S. unit (he led the 2012 team that lost in stunning fashion when the Europeans mounted an historic final-day comeback). He recalled his own stint as Corey Pavin’s lieutenant in 2010 and ventured a guess that Tiger would enjoy a vastly different experience.
"When I was assistant captain for Corey I just faded into the background, I was just another guy in a cart working," Love said with a laugh. "I don’t think Tiger can do that. I don’t think he’s going to fade into the background even at that big an event."
Another reason (as if we needed one) that the full Tiger Woods circus will be in town come Sept. 30 is because the 14-time major winner has become something of a recluse as he continues rehabbing after multiple back surgeries. The last time Tiger flashed his Sunday red and black, he was in the booth at the Quicken Loans National giving Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo his stock "need more time" answer about when he might return to the playing field.
"We haven’t seen Tiger," Love noted. "He’s been a ghost for a year on the golf course. He’s going to show up at the Ryder Cup with our team uniforms on and I think that says a lot for our team."
* * *