Davis Love III, next year’s U.S. Presidents Cup captain, is open to having Tiger Woods contribute to the team in any fashion.
Though Love would like to see the 15-time major winner come back from his Feb. 23 car crash and play again by next September, he is open to having the victorious 2019 playing captain contribute in any way possible.
“Tiger, I think we pushed – it would have been a great captaincy for Tiger to continue on,” Love said Tuesday at the RSM Classic. “At the time we were discussing it (before Woods’ crash), he said, ‘No, I’m playing really good, I’m gonna make the team, and I enjoyed Australia being playing captain, but I want to be a player on the team.’ So his role is whatever his role wants to be. If Tiger calls me up and says, ‘Hey, you’re kicked out, I’m taking over,’ that’s Tiger’s role. If he wants to be an assistant, you know. I would hope that he comes back and starts playing and can make that a goal, to be on the team.
“He was a big part of our Ryder Cup. It took us a while to get him to the point where he would engage. Obviously, he had a rough start to the year, but once we got him in the loop, he was a big help and a lot of fun for the Ryder Cup and for the team. Obviously, the guys were going to see him down there in South Florida all summer, but leading up to the Ryder Cup, obviously, he had a watch party at his house. He can do whatever and I know he’ll be a big part of it.”
Full-field tee times from The RSM Classic
Love added that Woods’ “insight” is invaluable as Woods has fostered good relationships with a lot of the players who will vie for a spot on Love’s ’22 team.
“Tiger went from a guy we didn’t know to now he’s a leader and an inside guy,” Love said, “so he has good information on some of the players that we don’t know. He was really helpful in captains’ picks. I think for me in ’16 [as U.S. Ryder Cup captain] and then as an assistant captain, he’s very helpful in strategy and pairings. He’s a tactician, he watches a lot more golf than I do, so he has a lot of information.”
Love also is leaving the door open for Phil Mickelson, who just won the PGA Tour Champions’ Charles Schwab Cup Championship for his fourth senior win in six starts, to be a part of Team USA next year. However, with Lefty winning the PGA Championship this past year and impressing on the elder circuit, Love has the mindset that the 51-year-old can still tee it up at Quail Hollow in possibly his Presidents Cup swan song.
“I think Charlotte, yes, I would look at Phil right now more getting ready to play,” he said. “I think he can have a big year on the PGA Tour. Obviously, when he pops out on the Champions tour he’s a favorite and I think he’s got the best winning percentage on the history of the Champions tour. He hasn’t won as many as Hale Irwin, but win-per-start, he’s doing awfully well like [Jim] Furyk. I would look for Phil as a player right now, yes, more than anything.”