Stricker hopes Tiger can be part of Ryder team

  • Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
  • Covered golf for more than 20 years
  • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

ORLANDO, Fla. — Steve Stricker wore red and black in honor of Tiger Woods on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and said he hopes to have his longtime friend at the Ryder Cup this fall “in one way, shape or form.”

But the U.S. Ryder Cup captain would not go so far as to say this early that Woods would be a vice captain when the United States Ryder Cup team takes on Europe at Whistling Straits in September.

Woods is recovering from multiple serious injuries suffered in a single-vehicle crash in Southern California on Feb. 23.

“I’m not going to go down that road now,” Stricker said. “Obviously we’re all pulling for him. We’re thankful that he’s alive. I don’t know who said it, but that his kids continue to have a father. Something even more tragic could have come from that.

“I’d love to have him around [at the Ryder Cup]. I’m hoping in one way, shape or form. But it’s too early to kind of commit to anything.”

Stricker has two vice captain openings after having already named Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and Zach Johnson to those roles.

Stricker was an assistant captain to Woods at the last team competition played in 2019, the Presidents Cup won by the U.S. team in Australia. A year earlier, Stricker assisted Furyk at the 2018 Ryder Cup, where Woods played on the losing side.

And in 2017, when Stricker was the Presidents Cup captain, Woods was an assistant for the U.S. team that won at Liberty National. Woods also assisted Love at the 2016 Ryder Cup, won by the Americans.

Woods missed nearly all of the 2016 and 2017 seasons due to back issues. He was a playing captain at the 2019 Presidents Cup and went 3-0 as a player.

Stricker noted that before the accident, he was hoping Woods would put together the kind of season that would allow him to be part of the team as a player.

During Sunday’s final round, Stricker joked that wearing red and black “didn’t do me s—; I didn’t make a birdie. But obviously he’s a friend of mine. I’m trying to keep up on what’s going on with him. I haven’t heard too much lately.”

There have been no public updates on Woods’ condition since March 1.

Stricker, 54, shot 77 on Sunday. He’s trying to play as much as possible on the regular PGA Tour to keep in touch with the players who might be on his team. He is an alternate for next week’s Players Championship and then plans to play the Honda Classic in two weeks.

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