September 26, 2018

Woods Prepares For Ryder Cup With Second Practice Round

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods got his second look at Le Golf National on Wednesday as he readies to play for the United States for the eighth time in the Ryder Cup Matches.

For the second consecutive day, he played with Patrick Reed in a foursome with Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The group played the back nine.

Joe LaCava, Woods’ caddie, revealed the American team played a small practical joke on him Sunday night at a team dinner before flying to Europe. Woods arrived late after winning the Tour Championship, his first victory in five years and the 80th of his career.

“I ran into Jim Furyk (team captain) and he said, ‘We were thinking about giving Tiger the cold shoulder like they do in baseball when the guy hits his first home run. Do you think Tiger will be OK with that? ’ ’’ LaCava said on Ryder Cup Radio on Sirius/XM. “I was like, ‘Of course he would. He’s got a sense of humor.’ ’’

When Woods arrived, he expected high-fives and congratulations but got crickets for several minutes.

“They weren’t even looking at him, they all have their backs to him,” said LaCava. “He’s looking at me like what’s going on? He’s not a guy who is looking for fanfare, but these are his boys. He’s looking for 11 guys to run up and give him a good hug.”

Finally, they turned around, cheered and gave him a hero’s welcome.

Final practice sessions will be played Thursday, followed by the opening ceremony and captain’s pairings for Friday morning’s four-ball (best ball) competition.

Woods competed in his first Ryder Cup in 1997 at Valderrama Golf Club in Andalusia and remembers how nervous he was prior to his first match. Earlier, he tried to convince Ryder Cup veteran and playing partner Mark O’Meara to let him tee off on even-numbered holes – to avoid hitting the first shot on No. 1 – but O’Meara wouldn’t have it. Woods split the fairway with a 2-iron.

In 2010 at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, Woods recalled hearing the large bleachers surrounding the first tee reverberating while he was standing on the putting green.

“It was so loud,” he said. “That was fun to be a part of. I loved it. I think this week is going to be exactly like that, but I think the decibels will be up a little bit.”