The startling 19-year career blip Tiger is looking to fix
TIGER Woods admitted he has not enjoyed being on the losing team in six of his seven Ryder Cup appearances and is determined to taste victory this week for the first time in 19 years.
Woods, fresh from his memorable win at the Tour Championship, returns for Team USA as a player at Le Golf National having missed the last two editions through injury, and he is well aware of how painful it is to watch the Europeans celebrating on Sunday evening.
The 42-year-old was a member of the winning 1999 team at the "Battle of Brookline", but that remains his only success in the competition after injury prevented him from playing in Paul Azinger's victorious side in 2008, while he was a vice-captain at Hazeltine two years ago while nursing his back injury.
As he reflected on his Ryder Cup disappointments at his pre-tournament press conference, he said: "It certainly is something that, when I look back on my entire Ryder Cup career, it's not something that I have really enjoyed and I've really liked seeing.
"I've played a lot of the matches. Of those seven previous Ryder Cups, I've sat out one session, and that was at Medinah. Otherwise, I've played every single match.
"We haven't done well. You know, the year that we won in 2008, I had reconstruction knee surgery after the US Open and I didn't play. And I was a vice-captain in 2016, but it's different being a player.
"It was neat to be part of the team, to be a part of helping the guys in any way I possibly could to make them feel comfortable, to get them into the right circumstances to allow them to play their best golf.
"As a player, it's different because you focus on your playing partner and earning your point. As a vice-captain, there's so many moving parts that you're in charge of, and so that was very different in 2016.
"But my overall Ryder Cup record, not having won as a player since 1999 is something that hopefully we can change. We haven't won as a US squad here in 25 years on foreign soil, so hopefully that will change this week, as well."
Woods also believes the tough 18th hole at Le Golf National could be pivotal in the outcome, and he added: "I remember being a part of some of the Presidents Cup teams that Jack had captained. He says it plain and simple: 'Who wins the 18th hole?'
"Those were the matches that swing. If you're one up, you lose the last hole, go to even, or you win the last hole and you get a point; these little half-points to point swings are enormous over the course of the entire Cup.
"The teams that we've been a part of in The Presidents Cup wins, at least that I've been a part of, and we've handled the 18th hole well. But in the Ryder Cup, we haven't.
"The blowouts that we have received in The Ryder Cup, we didn't play the 18th hole well; and in the blowouts we've had in the Presidents Cup where we've blown the internationals out is because we won the 18th hole.
"The matches are very tight, and usually who plays the last hole well determines the Cup."