Tiger Woods may have grabbed all the golfing headlines with his surprise wildcard selection for the USA’s Ryder Cup 2018 but he is just one player in a formidable team.
Woods fell from grace five years ago and wandered golf’s wilderness trying to recover form and popularity before winning the PGA Tour Championship by two shots.
The victory was the 80thchalked up by Woods – only bettered by Sam Snead – but his first since August 2013.
Although he may be a talisman for the US team and one of the world’s all-time greats, the Europe team say they do not fear him and that Ryder Cup is a team effort and Tiger is not necessarily a team player.
He may have won 14 major titles, but his record is rooted in the distant past for a new generation of world golfers who respect his achievements but claim the current hype is overstated.
Silly to focus on one player
“I don’t want to speculate how he’s going to play or how he’s going to do,” said Europe’s Rory McIlroy, speaking to the BBC.
“His win has given their team some momentum coming here. But we’re looking to beat the USA team, not Tiger Woods.
“This week Woods is one of 12.
“We’re not looking to beat any one individual and to focus on one player is silly, especially as I might not even see him this week.”
The Ryder Cup 2018 takes place in Paris between September 28 and September 30.
Europe’s Justin Rose goes into the Ryder Cup as the first Englishman to snatch the overall FedEx Cup, which determines the season-long PGA Tour champion, and netting a $10 million prize as a result.
Ryder Cup roll of honour
Although he finished fourth behind Woods in the last match, his record win has far less razzamatazz attached.
The USA won the last Ryder Cup in 2016 on home soil, but have a stuttering away record.
On paper, the US has a stronger line-up, boasting 10 of the world’s top 17 players, with nine players having won at least one major title.
In comparison, world number two Justin Rose and four-time major winner McIlroy head Europe’s team with four others who have a masters to their name.
The USA head the roll of honour with 26 Ryder Cup wins to Europe’s 13 – but Europe has taken 10 of the last 19, with one tournament drawn.