Woods holds talks over 2019 pre-Pres­i­dents Cup sched­ule

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bruce Matthews

MEL­BOURNE, AUS­TRALIA >> U.S. cap­tain Tiger Woods will have dis­cus­sions with golf of­fi­cials in Mel­bourne on how to best pre­pare his team for the 2019 Pres­i­dents Cup next De­cem­ber at Royal Mel­bourne.

Woods, in Mel­bourne for a pro­mo­tional visit, said the talks later Thurs­day would fo­cus on the op­tions of the Amer­i­cans play­ing his Hero World Chal­lenge in the Ba­hamas, com­ing to Mel­bourne the week prior for prac­tice with sand-belt tech­niques, or play­ing the Aus­tralian Open as the lead-up event at The Aus­tralian in Syd­ney.

“We have to fig­ure out some lo­gis­ti­cal things be­tween now and then and that’s the rea­son I’m here,” Woods said.

“We’ve got a few meet­ings here to­day to try to get a plan go­ing for­ward so we can get the best that we can at the Hero as well as get ev­ery­one here from the Ba­hamas rested and pre­pared and ready to play.”

Woods in­di­cated that no an­nounce­ment would be made on the out­come of the talks un­til he re­turned to the U.S.

Of­fi­cials an­nounced last month that the Aus­tralian Open, the fifth-old­est cham­pi­onship in golf, would be played Dec. 5-8 and or­ga­niz­ers were ex­cited about an­other strong field. The Pres­i­dents Cup is set for Dec. 12-15.

Woods was a rookie on the 1998 Amer­i­can team that lost to the In­ter­na­tion­als for the only time in the his­tory of the event. Many on the U.S. team played the Aus­tralian Open at Royal Ade­laide that year the week prior to the Pres­i­dents Cup.

“It was late in De­cem­ber and we didn’t have the wrap-around sched­ule that we do now. The guys took quite a bit of time off and, quite frankly, we weren’t pre­pared to play and we got smoked,” he said.

“I would en­cour­age them to stay com­pet­i­tive late in the year. That’s what we learned in ‘98, the guys weren’t com­pet­i­tive, they had shut it down. So, hope­fully, they’ll play my event in the Ba­hamas. If not, they’ll stay com­pet­i­tive, stay sharp. Try­ing to get guys to stay sharp when it’s their break time is go­ing to be the chal­lenge.”

Woods said he will tai­lor his 2019 play­ing sched­ule in a bid to be play­ing cap­tain in his ninth Pres­i­dents Cup. He shares the record of 24 wins with Phil Mick­el­son and had a 2-3 record in 1998 and again in 2011 at Royal Mel­bourne.

“I’m part of the team ei­ther way. Af­ter the (2019) Tour Cham­pi­onship, we’ll have the top eight guys and, hope­fully, I’ll be part of the eight,” Woods said. “If not, my­self and my vice-cap­tains will fig­ure out among the other play­ers who are the best four play­ers to serve this team.”

Only Hale Ir­win has played the Pres­i­dents Cup as a cap­tain when he per­formed dual roles for the U.S. in the in­au­gu­ral 1994 event.

“I got a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence (in dual team roles) as vice-cap­tain this past year with the Ry­der Cup,” Woods said. “Jim (Furyk) thought my role was bet­ter be­ing fo­cused on play­ing. I was part of con­ver­sa­tions of who should be part of the team and now fast-for­ward to next year and I’ll be re­ly­ing on my vice-cap­tains to get a lot of their opin­ions and also my team, whether I can play and do both roles.”

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