Spieth: Tiger brings ‘intimidation factor’ as Ryder Cup vice-captain
WORLD No.1 Jordan Spieth believes the appointment of Tiger Woods as a vice-captain will be a huge ‘intimidation’ advantage for the USA Ryder Cup team.
The double-major-winning Spieth also expects Woods to qualify automatically for Hazeltine despite the uncertainty of Woods’ return to normal competition from a second back operation.
“The fact Davis [Love III] has appointed Tiger as a vice-captain means Tiger is going to bring a huge intimidation factor to the USA team next September,” said Spieth. “I am also of the opinion that Tiger will be on the team whether he qualifies automatically or as a captain’s pick.
“I was speaking with Tiger recently and while he’s been appointed a vicecaptain, he told me he’s going to make that Hazeltine team, so I hope he does.”
Given Spieth has been absent from competition for some three weeks, the 22-year old Texan was commenting publicly for the first time on Davis Love III’s appointment of additional USA team vice-captains in Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker following an opening level par round 71 in the defence of his Australian Open title in Sydney.
“It’s a great decision on Davis’s part selecting Tiger and I don’t see any downside to it at all,” said Spieth.
“It maybe is a bit unusual having five vice-captains.
“But given I am not on the committee that was formed, they do have a plan and the plan is to have five vice-captains.
“So I will follow the plan and with an additional vice-captain I do feel this next Ryder Cup could have a more laid back atmosphere.”
And Spieth sees no concern for the USA Team – as they seek to win the Ryder Cup for what would be the first time since their 2008 victory at Valhalla – should any of the vicecaptains qualify automatically for the team.
“While we’re not real sure about Tiger [Woods] and ‘Strick’ [Steve Stricker] you would have to think Jim [Furyk] could still qualify for the team but then I don’t have a problem with that,” said Spieth.
“That wouldn’t hurt the team and I don’t think it would make much of a difference because if any of the vicecaptains such as he and Tiger did make the team they would still be strong leaders out on the golf course. So being a vice-captain is just a label that if they are not there, they’ll be there.”
Meanwhile, it’s been confirmed that Catriona Matthew, Scotland’s most successful female Tour professional, is to join the nation’s golfing ‘Hall of Fame’ with the celebration of her career at next year’s Scottish Golf Awards.
The former Ricoh Women’s British Open champion and eight-time Solheim Cup player is to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award when event returns to the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on March 11.
SUPPORT: Jordan Spieth has backed the decision to appoint Tiger Woods as USA vice-captain