US captain Zach Johnson will have some big calls on his hands ahead of next year's Ryder Cup, but he has already revealed that he will have the legendary Tiger Woods on hand to aid him along the way.
Johnson appeared with European captain Luke Donald on Tuesday to look ahead to the 2023 event, which will take place in Italy for the first time at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.
When asked about Tiger Woods, Johnson confirmed he was unclear if the 18-times major winner would make it to Italy as a player - but said that he had no doubt that Tiger would play a crucial role in the US team's preparation for the Ryder Cup.
US Ryder Cup captain confirms Tiger Woods involvement
Ever since breaking his leg in a car accident in spring 2021, Tiger Woods has struggled for fitness and form, with emotional scenes following his final round at this year's Open at St. Andrew's.
It would certainly be an impressive feat if he managed to fight his way onto the US Ryder Cup team for next year's contest in Rome, but captain Zach Johnson says he will be involved either way:
Given who he is and what he's all about, I can tell you right now, I don't know if he'll be here next year, but he'll be a part of this team in some capacity - he already is, practically.
I can't put this mildly - he loves the Ryder Cup. He has made it a priority of his and certainly of Team USA. He wants to be a part of it as best he can.
Tiger Woods has been part of eight previous American Ryder Cup teams as a player, winning in 1999. He was a vice captain for the 2018 edition in France, before missing last year's event through injury.
The addition of Tiger Woods in any form is of course a massive boost to the US Ryder Cup team, given his wealth of experience.
On the European side, captain Luke Donald has said that the tournament presents an opportunity to build bridges in golf, amid the ongoing LIV series controversy.
Donald himself was only elevated to the role of captain in recent weeks, after previous captain Henrik Stenson chose to sign with the LIV series. Speaking at the Ryder Cup event this week, Donald said:
The history of the Ryder Cup is vital really, I think. What’s so great about the Ryder Cup is that it does garner an interest in a new generation of players and fans to this game. I think it’s always an inspiration to the fans, to anyone.
The Ryder Cup is bigger than any individual player and it’s a great way to unify everyone. I think it will continue to do that.
It's just under a year to go until the Ryder Cup and, with Tiger Woods involved on the US side, and several Irish players in contention to make the European team, it's set to be a cracking installment in the tournament's history.