Tiger Woods' Ryder Cup role? Zach Johnson: "Best we navigate this ourselves"

Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson has confirmed Tiger Woods role for the forthcoming contest as he responded to comments made by LIV Golf's Bryson DeChambeau.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 25 Sep 2023
Tiger Woods' Ryder Cup role? Zach Johnson: "Best we navigate this ourselves"

Zach Johnson has confirmed Tiger Woods won't be making an appearance at the Ryder Cup to support Team USA as he responded to Bryson DeChambeau's latest comments about being overlooked for a captain's pick. 

Johnson and his European counterpart Luke Donald met with a pool of reporters on 25 September ahead of the 44th contest which begins on Friday morning. 

The American skipper was asked to respond to the latest remarks made by DeChambeau, 30, who claimed his second LIV Golf victory of 2023 over the weekend at Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago.  

As far as DeChambeau is concerned, it would have 'been nice' to at the very least receive a phone call from Johnson considering he was part of the 2021 side that swept aside Padraig Harrington's Europe with ease at Whistling Straits. 

Watch below what DeChambeau had to say:

When Johnson announced his six captain's picks earlier in the month he confirmed that no LIV players, other than Brooks Koepka, got a call. 

Dustin Johnson went 5-0-0 in Whistling Straits and he claimed his defection to the breakaway tour ultimately cost him a spot on the team, although Jack Nicklaus disagrees

Johnson was asked: "Can you explain why he [Bryson] wasn't [called], and some other players perhaps? I wonder, do you have any regrets about who you didn't call in terms of picks, and the did other LIV guys, other than Brooks obviously, come seriously into consideration for a pick?

The 47-year-old captain replied:

"Yeah, I can answer all of those in a very simple manner. We kept a tally of -- we have a points system within The PGA of America, within the Ryder Cup USA. It's pretty evident that of how you garner points and which tournaments can accumulate points.
"I basically, you know, I kept at one point -- I mean, I have my own probably a top 30 but when it got down towards the end of the process, it was the top 20, the top 25 guys in that point system that I felt like had the merit and certainly, well, should have my full attention.
"That's where I was. I was basically in the top 20, top 25 guys in points when it came down to formulating this Team USA."

"He's got a lot on his plate"

Johnson also confirmed Woods will not be making the trip to the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

Woods, 47, is back walking again and recently caddied for his 14-year-old son Charlie Woods as he ticked off another victory in his junior career.

Johnson said: "No, Tiger will not be joining us in Italy. He's got a lot on his plate.

"As far as conferring with him, communicating with him, I mean, we have up to this point, and he is one of -- he understands that now that our feet are on the ground, it's probably kind of best that we navigate this ourselves.

"But he's always on inner corner, and at this point it's more encouragement on his side, whether he's texting the guys or texting the vice captains and captains, he's there to encourage because he's very invested in what we do year-in and year-out with Team USA, and that has never ceased and I'm grateful for that."

He added: "I mean, he's the best player of our generation. Thankfully he's an American. We are going to utilise his knowledge and his wisdom and his candor and his passion the best we can.

"When it comes to the week of the tournament, if you're not in on it and inside the team room, inside the ropes, shoulder-to-shoulder with these guys, it's not fair to ask him questions. It's probably -- he can give us insights, don't get me wrong. At the same time, I don't know if that's proper and I think he would understand completely."

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