Fred Couples sure as hell hasn’t lost his golf game. His mind? Perhaps.
Couples, the United States’ team captain for the 2011 Presidents Cup, elected to use one of his two captain’s picks on Tiger Woods. Yeah, that Tiger Woods. The oft-injured golfer who has just two top-10 finishes this year, didn’t play his way into the FedEx Cup playoffs and missed the cut at the PGA Championship two and a half weeks ago. Yep, the guy who ranks 38th in the world, 29th in the US Presidents Cup rankings and dead last in the PGA relevance standings.
Two weeks ago, Couples said he would consider taking Tiger to Melbourne, Australia in November to help him win the Cup with the top-10 Presidents Cup leaders and his other captain’s pick, but only if Tiger played a few more tournaments. But before Tiger announced he’d step up and compete, Fred decided not to wait. His reasoning? “He’s the best player in the world forever,” Fred told the media last week while practicing at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Perhaps, but some consider Jack Nicklaus or Bobby Jones to be the best player in the world forever. While Jones is long gone, Nicklaus is still alive. Fred, you going to take Nicklaus with that second captain’s pick?
Tiger has been awful the last few years and absolutely does not give the US the best chance to win. Why would you want him? 25-year-old Keegan Bradley has won twice this season, including the PGA Championship, but ranks 18th in the Cup standings. Leaving Bradley out after what he’s accomplished this season would border on travesty. 22-year-old Rickie Fowler hasn’t won yet but placed in the top 10 four times this season and seven times last year. Fowler was last year’s rookie of the year, was the youngest US representative in Ryder Cup history and flourished in international player during his Walker Cup days as an amateur. The options are there, but Fred turned on logic to do an old friend a solid.
In return, Woods should do the US a solid and decline the invitation. If he doesn’t, he better be prepared come November. If Tiger crashes, his fellow countrymen’s disapproval in November of 2011 won’t give as easily as that fire hydrant did in November of 2009.