Tiger Woods names himself as a Presidents Cup captain's pick to complete United States team

Daniel Zeqiri
The Telegraph
Tiger Woods has made a stunning come back just two months after his knee surgery - AFP
Tiger Woods has made a stunning come back just two months after his knee surgery - AFP

Tiger Woods has named himself as a Presidents Cup captain’s pick to complete the United States team who will face the Internationals at Royal Melbourne next month.

Woods will be the first playing captain in the competition’s history since Hale Irwin in 1994, after proving his form and fitness with a stunning victory at the ZOZO Championship in Japan three weeks ago.

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Patrick Reed, Tony Finau and US Open champion Gary Woodland were also selected by Woods as captain’s picks, underlining the US’s impressive depth of talent.

"As captain, I'm going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team," Woods said. "He's made ... nine Cups and he's played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup, so this will be his third appearance as a player. And I find it interesting talking in the third person."

Woods’ win in Japan came just two months after arthroscopic knee surgery to address pain that had been troubling him since his Masters triumph in April.

The 15-time major champion will be assisted in Australia by his old playing partner Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and Fred Couples.

Speaking in more depth about the process that led to him playing, Woods said: “Freddie was pretty ardent. ‘You’re on the team. Quit being stupid.’ I said, ‘No, hold on. I haven’t swung a club yet. Let me rehab this knee and get it going. Give me Japan and I’ll get back to you,’

“Well, I got back to him after Japan.”

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau qualified for the team automatically.

International captain Ernie Els favoured youth over experience with his picks, selecting Sungjae Im, Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Niemann and Jason Day. 

Questions about the competitiveness of the team event are likely to arise if the US win the cup for the eighth time in succession. The International team - comprised of players from neither the US nor Europe - have only emerged on top once since the Presidents Cup was founded in 1994.

The US have tried to use the exhibition match as a testing ground to improve their Ryder Cup fortunes where similar dominance continues to elude them.

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