Tiger Woods winning is a great boost for Ryder Cup, captains agree
24 September 2018, 15:32 | Updated: 25 September 2018, 06:53
Rival captains Thomas Bjorn and Jim Furyk both agreed Tiger Woods winning for the first time in over five years is a huge boost for golf ahead of this week's Ryder Cup.
Woods arrived in Paris with Team USA having completed an emotional wire-to-wire victory at the Tour Championship, atoning for a series of near-misses this season with his 80th PGA Tour title.
The 42-year-old has impressed throughout the year after starting 2018 in "unknown territory" as he returned to PGA Tour action following his spinal fusion surgery last year, after which he could not predict if he would be able to compete at the highest level again.
But he began to show glimpses of his former self when he finished runner-up to Paul Casey at the Valspar Championship in March before going close at The Open and the PGA Championship, and he finally made his long-awaited return to the winners' enclosure at East Lake in his 18th start of the season.
"He's played really well all year, he was knocking on the door at two majors and had a number of opportunities to win this year, so it's obviously a nice buzz for our team," said a delighted US captain Furyk.
"Just I guess the amount of attention and the buzz around the PGA Championship, around the Tour Championship, the crowd, on the 18th fairway yesterday was amazing.
"It obviously brings, not that this event needs much more energy or that brought to it; it's probably the biggest, the grandest event in all of golf but it will add that much more excitement, I believe, and you know, it's exciting either way, but it adds to it."
Bjorn added: "I spent 25 years playing professional golf with Tiger Woods on the scene, and any time he does anything great, that's a story and that's where we want to see him. We want to see him at the top of the game.
"He does so much for the game of golf, and I thought it was brilliant to watch. It was great for the greater aspect of the game.
"Coming into this week, these are 24 of the best players in the world and this tournament is what it is, and as always, it has its history and it's a great battle and it is 12 against 12. That's what we're looking forward to.
"For the game of golf, Tiger Woods winning golf tournaments is something that's brilliant and I think we all benefit from it. Whatever it is these 24 guys are going to do this week, the game of golf needs that boost of somebody like him that transcends the game to the masses, it needs him at the top of the game. So for everyone in golf, it's brilliant."
Bjorn and Furyk were also in agreement that fatigue will not be a factor for Woods and newly-crowed FedExCup champion Justin Rose after a gruelling season-finale in Atlanta with so much on the line, both physically and mentally.
"They are top athletes and they know this week has been coming around for a long time," said Bjorn. "They have had it in the back of their mind that this is coming, and one thing I learned about The Ryder Cup is that no matter how tired you are, you are going to carry yourself and use every last bit of adrenaline in your body, even if you have played a lot.
"Achieving big things obviously takes a little bit out of you, but they will carry themselves through the week and this is what they have been looking forward to probably the most all season, so not worried."
Furyk added: "This event is a bit of a marathon in its own right, and Tiger and Justin Rose have played in so many of these that they understand the physical and mental demands of this event. They will pace themselves.
"They will prepare accordingly, and you know, the trick for us, not knowing the golf course quite as well, is getting that preparation in and learning the golf course; yet also trying to conserve some energy and get ready for some possible 36 holes on Friday and Saturday."
(c) Sky News 2018: Tiger Woods winning is a great boost for Ryder Cup, captains agree