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ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 16: Tiger Woods practices for the Tavistock Cup on March 16, 2009 at Lake Nona Country Club in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods
Woods made the U.S. team as a captain's pick thanks to his career record of 71 wins and 14 majors. When the team tees off in Wales Oct. 1-3, it will be Woods' sixth time representing his nation, But all of the other years, he made it on the strength of his domination of the sport. The Woods who became the greatest golfer in the world has been missing in action ever since his scandalous breakup with ex-wife Elin Nordegren.
Team Captain Corey Pavin said making the four discretionary picks - the other eight members make it on the strength of their performance this year - went down to the wire.
"Well, what I was trying to do was not form any opinions until almost this weekend," Pavin said. "I didn't want to overburden myself so I just waited and waited and waited. Tiger's one of 12 guys on the team, and everyone's as important as the other."
Woods remains the PGA's top ranked golfer even though he has not won since returning from his self-imposed hiatus for the Masters. Still, he posted three rounds in the 60s at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week, by far his best performance of the year. And while in past years he has been accused of being indifferent to the Ryder Cup, he seemed to be enthusiastic about helping the U.S. defend its championship.
"I've been to Wales previously, with the Walker Cup," Woods said. "Looking forward to going with the team and hopefully bringing the [Ryder] Cup back."
Pavin made a more surprising choice in announcing the lineup at the New York Stock Exchange, adding 21-year-old Rickie Fowler, along with former major champions Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink, to an American team that will try to retain the cup. They join qualifiers Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Jeff Overton.
Fowler is the first PGA Tour rookie to make the U.S. team. He has three runner-up finishes in his 11 months as a pro.