HOYLAKE, England — The good news?
“I got four rounds in,” Tiger Woods said. And the bad?
“Just too many mistakes,” Woods, frustrated by those two triple bogeys and three doubles, lamented for the third straight day.
On Sunday at Royal Liverpool, Woods shot 75, failing to break par yet again after a first-round 69 had shown so much promise. He played his final 54 holes in 9 over and ended up beating just three of the people who made the cut, one of whom was recent U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer.
Even so, Woods, who was playing for just the second time since having surgery in April to repair a pinched nerve in his back, remained encouraged.
“I’ve got more game time under my belt,” Woods said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of things I need to work on but I haven’t been able to work on a lot. I was down for three months. So I’m just now starting to come back.”
Will that comeback be quick enough for Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, though?
Woods currently ranks 72nd in the U.S. standings and is in need of a Captain’s Pick. At this point, he has two tournaments left before the nine automatic qualifiers are finalized — and both the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship are on courses where Woods has won, eight times at the former venue, in fact.
But if Woods, who currently ranks 212th in the FedExCup doesn’t play his way into the Playoffs, Watson has a dilemma.
“If he’s playing well and in good health, I’ll pick him,” Watson reiterated on Sunday after beating Woods by seven strokes. “But the caveat to that is if he (doesn’t) make the FedExCup … what do I do then?”
Watson makes his three picks after the Deutsche Bank Championship, which is the second Playoffs event. He wants his players competing — not taking a four-week break prior to the competition at Gleneagles in September.
“He needed to get into the mix to get some points to get some money to get in the FedExCup,” Watson said. “That’s what I was hoping he was doing this week.”
Woods, not surprisingly, said if he were in Watson’s shoes, he’d pick himself.
“But that’s my position, my take on it,” Woods said. “Well, he’s the captain, obviously, it’s his decision. He’s going to field the best 12 players that he thinks will win the Cup back.
“And I hope I’m on that team.”
Woods pointed out that he was one of Corey Pavin’s picks in 2010 when the Ryder Cup was held at Celtic Manor in Wales. He had lost ground in the standings after taking a four-month sabbatical from the game to sort out personal problems but was still 12th when the automatic qualifiers were finalized.
Woods ended up leading the Americans, winning three matches and losing one, contributing three points to the cause.
“And that’s what you want as a pick — you want someone who can contribute to the team, whether it’s in support or it’s in play,” Woods said. “I did it then, and hopefully I can actually earn my way on this year.”
So Woods’ next two starts will be key. The Bridgestone Invitational offers 550 FedExCup points for victory while the PGA counts for 600. Money earned in events this year counts double for the Ryder Cup, as well.
“I’d like to win the next two tournaments I’m in,” Woods said. “That should take care of that.”