Tiger Woods’ unseen hand behind US domination at Ryder Cup

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Tiger Woods might be recuperating thousands of miles from Whistling Straits, but he has done his bit for the US Ryder Cup team.
Tiger Woods might be recuperating thousands of miles from Whistling Straits, but he has done his bit for the US Ryder Cup team.

Had Tiger Woods been up and about, he would have undoubtedly played a key role in the US Ryder Cup campaign. The high-speed car crash in February ruled that out but Tiger, recuperating miles away from Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits, has still done his bit.

The US camp is hugely appreciative as the hosts go into Day 2 with a 6-2 lead over Europe, a domination not seen in recent times.

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As the 2019 US Presidents Cup captain, Tiger would have featured in Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker’s scheme of things, either as a player or vice-captain had he been fit. But he sent a motivational text on Thursday night and it has certainly had effect.

 

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Stricker did not reveal details of the message, but team members hinted it was to never let up, and to keep the pressure on Europe.

After the demolition job of the seasoned Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, Ryder Cup newbies Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele shared that Woods’ message had them pumped up.

 

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“We had a nice message from Tiger, and obviously not going to reveal what it said, but Pat and I knew. We referred to it a few times a day, and we knew what we needed to do,” Schauffele told the PGA Tour.

 

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“We knew he was fist pumping from the couch. Whether he was on crutches or not, he’s as fired up as any back at home. So it’s nice to have his support.”

Cantlay had visited Tiger after winning the FedExCup, as he looked for tips ahead of the big week.

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“(There’s) no better role model and no better leader, and just somebody that you can always learn from. I saw him last week at home, and just picked his brain on Ryder Cup and applied some of that here today,” Cantlay added.

Tony Finau and Harris English also took heed of Tiger’s advice. Finau was incredible in the win over McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

 

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“Tiger has given Tony a little strategy for match play in four-ball, and we kind of fed off that today,” English said. “Tiger’s not with us in person, but I know he’s watching and talking to Stricker a lot. We know he’s got our backs, so that’s really cool, and we kind of used that energy today… we could feel it.”

 

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“Harry mentioned to me walking down No. 9, like how cool it was that Tiger is so into it. That’s the big thing is he’s so invested in this team. He’s not here physically, but the gist of basically what he was saying was I’m cheering you guys on, I’m right there with you and go fight and make us proud,” Finau said.

“We were able to do that, and if TW’s watching, thanks for that text, brother, I think it helped us a lot.”

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