MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Tiger Woods learned the hard way two decades ago how important preparation was for Presidents Cup success and he is determined to leave nothing to chance when he captains the United States at next year’s edition at Royal Melbourne.
The 42-year-old has already expressed his disquiet about his own World Challenge tournament being scheduled for the week before the Dec. 12-15 clash against an International team of players from the rest of the world, excluding Europe.
Anyone playing the World Challenge 16,000 kms away in the Bahamas will not get to Australia until Tuesday — only 48 hours before the start of the Presidents Cup — and Woods said he needed to ensure they would still be fresh.
“We have to figure out some logistical things between now and then,” the 14-times major champion told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
“We’ve got (to) try and get the best field we can at the (World Challenge), as well as getting everyone here from the Bahamas to this tournament, get them rested, getting them prepared and getting them ready to play and compete.”
Woods said the experience of 1998 at Royal Melbourne, when he was part of the only U.S. team to lose to the Internationals, illustrated how important it was that the Americans were ready to go.
“The guys took quite a bit of time off, and quite frankly, we weren’t prepared to play, and we got smoked,” he recalled.
“The internationals came out ready, prepared, played, and they drummed us. My job is to make sure that the guys are prepared, they’re still playing and trying to stay fresh and competitive late in the year.”
Woods reiterated that he wanted to be a playing captain but said he would consult with his vice captains and team mates over whether to pick himself if he failed to qualify as one of the automatic selections.
“After the Tour Championship, we’ll have our top eight guys, and hopefully I’ll be part of the top eight,” he said.
“If not, then (we) are going to have to figure out … who are the next four guys that will be best served to be part of this team.
“I don’t know if I’ll be a part of that conversation either way, as a player, but as a captain, yeah, I’ll be a part of it.”
Woods, a non-playing vice-captain at the 2017 edition, said taking charge of the Presidents Cup team was “special” and that he had a good idea of what kind of captain he wanted to be.
“Well, one that leads our team to a victory, one that the guys will have a lot of fun and respect,” he said.
“And one that’ll create an environment where it’ll be a moment and a week that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)