It's no secret that Tiger Woods has not looked like his old self for the past several months. After having surgery on his back in March, the Jupiter Island resident has played in four events. The results aren't what him or any of us would have expected either. He missed the 36-hole cut at the Quicken Loans National, finishing 69th in the Open Championship at Hoylake, withdrew after nine holes in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Inviational (a non-cut event), and missed the 36 hole cut by six shots this past week at the PGA Championship.
In addition to the golf world taking notice of Tiger's struggles lately, another one that has paid close attention is Tom Watson.
Watson, the captain for the United States in the upcoming Ryder Cup, has a tough deision to make. He has to decide if he wants to use one of his three captain's picks for the biennial event that puts the best golfers of the U.S. against the top golfers of Europe for national pride on the 14 time major winner or go with someone that has been more proven this year.
Watson has made no secret about his stance on having Woods on the team. The captain has said all along that if Tiger is playing well and healthy that he would have no problem adding him to the team. The question, after some less than stellar performances in the last two months, is Woods really 100% healthy?
"I can't assess his medical condition and I honestly can't assess how he's playing," Watson told reporters in a post PGA Championship press conference Monday. "It really is going to be having to come from information from Tiger himself. But, again, I don't make this comment loosely. He is Tiger Woods and he brings a lot to the team --- if he has the ability to play and he's healthy. He brings a lot to the team. And I'd be a fool not to consider him."
The issue that arises is that Wood's 2014 season is effectively done. He did not register for this week's Whyndham Championship and did not qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. As a result he will not have any PGA Tour events to continue to work on his game and get sharper. Meanwhile, golfers such as Brendon Todd, Keegan Bradey, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, and Ryan Palmer will all be playing in several events prior to the Ryder Cup and all have made strong cases throughout the 2014 season that they should garner one of the three captain's picks as well.
This, coupled by the injury to Jason Dufner who seemed to be a shoe in for a spot on the team two weeks ago and the leave of absence by Dustin Johnson, puts captain Tom Watson in quite the predicament.
Nine American golfers have already qualified for the Ryder Cup based off of points. Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Speith, Patrick Reed, and Zach Johnson have all already punched their ticket to Gleneagles in Scotland September 26-28. The question is, will Tiger Woods be joining them?