Is Tiger Woods at the 2021 Ryder Cup? Recovery ‘moving in right direction’ away from Team USA

15-time major champion and eight-time Ryder Cup team member Tiger Woods will not be at this year’s Ryder Cup as either a vice captain or player.

Woods hasn’t played professionally since the 2020 Masters Tournament, held in Nov. 2020. This is mostly because Woods was involved in a severe car crash back in February, in which he drove 84 to 87 mph in a 45 mph zone, lost control and hit a tree, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Woods is still recovering from his right leg and ankle procedure following the crash and taking time off from golf. His return is still uncertain.

As the Ryder Cup got closer, there were questions about whether Woods would have a role leading Team USA off the course. It’s difficult for golf fans to remember a Ryder Cup without Woods’ influence. 

Here is a breakdown of Woods’ current recovery status, along with what to expect from Woods during this year’s Ryder Cup.

Is Tiger Woods at the 2021 Ryder Cup?

After the roster was revealed, Team USA captain Steve Stricker announced that Woods would not have an official role this year.

“I’ve talked to Tiger a lot,” Stricker told Carl Paulson and Dennis Paulson on SiriusXM’s “Inside the Ropes.” “He’s a part of this Ryder Cup family; he won’t be able to be a captain’s assistant this time around just because of his ongoing rehabilitation to try to get better and try to play golf again, and that is going well. He’s progressing, he’s doing well, things are moving in the right direction.”

So even if Woods isn’t physically at Whistling Straits this year, it seems that Team USA is still looking to the veteran golfer for his advice. It’s as easy as calling or Zooming him into a captain’s meeting to hear his thoughts. As a vice captain in 2016, Woods helped the United States to a victory on the sidelines, their first as a team since 2008. 

“He could be there physically with us or he’ll be at home on the phone with us,” Stricker said. “He’ll participate, he wants to participate. He wants to be there for the guys. He’s an unbelievable player, right, but I think he brings more to the table as a captain or an assistant captain. It’s odd saying that, but he’s so fully invested in all things Team USA. So many guys look up to him. And when he was an assistant or a captain, he had the time to be in everybody’s back pocket.”

Regardless of Woods’ involvement, he remains on the minds of the golfers competing at the 2021 Ryder Cup. Six of the current team members — Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau — played with Woods at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Woods also acted as a vice captain in 2018. Spieth, Johnson and Koepka also experienced Woods as a captain on the 2016 team.

These golfers know the impact Woods has on the Ryder Cup team, either as a teammate, captain or mentor.

“We’re going to rely on him for info and input because we want to include him,” vice captain Davis Love III said. “He’s always going to be part of Team USA golf. What does he bring to the team? Passion and energy. He can motivate these guys from afar. He can put them on the plane excited to go. He was just their last captain. He’s played on teams with a lot of these guys, he plays at home with a lot of them. He’s going to be in their thoughts.”

Tiger Woods recovery update

Woods hasn’t publicly stated how he’s progressing in his recovery from the 2021 car crash when he posted an image to his Instagram of him on crutches. Otherwise, comments remain somewhat general about his recovery.

https://www.instagram.com/p/COBhSUNj95S/

A post shared by Tiger Woods (@tigerwoods)

In May, Woods spoke with Golf Digest about his recovery process and how tough it’s been compared to his past injuries.

“This has been an entirely different animal,” Woods said. “I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”

It does appear he stays connected with his former Ryder Cup teammates, like Steve Stricker or Love, to update them on how he’s feeling. Both Stricker and Love recently commented how Woods seems to be recovering quite well, but still has no timeline of when he will return to golf, if he even can.

“We’re all happy that he’s come a long way in 6-8 months,” Love said. “It’s just unfortunate that the Ryder Cup is probably not the right place for him to try to move around right now. He’s going to be a part of it.”

As of now, Woods intends on hosting the Hero World Challenge in December.

Tiger Woods Ryder Cup record

Woods competed in eight Ryder Cups as a team member. His overall record is 4-2-2 in singles, 4-9-1 in foursomes and 5-10-0 in fourballs.

Woods acted as a vice captain during the 2016 event. He missed the 2014 Ryder Cup due to back problems, and he missed the 2008 Ryder Cup due to a knee surgery.

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