Ryder Cup: Zach Johnson open to Tiger Woods having playing role for Team USA for Rome contest
Team USA are reigning Ryder Cup holders after record-breaking win at Whistling Straits in 2021; Zach Johnson says Tiger Woods will be involved for America in some capacity when they face Europe in Rome this September, live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 12/01/23 9:54pm
Team USA captain Zach Johnson has refused to rule out a playing role for Tiger Woods at this year’s Ryder Cup, although admits there would be factors to consider for him to feature in Rome.
Woods made the most recent of his eight Ryder Cup appearances in 2018 and also previously served as a vice-captain during the 2016 victory at Hazeltine, with the former world No 1 also featuring in nine Presidents Cup for Team USA.
The 15-time major champion has featured in just three official events since suffering career-threatening leg and ankle injuries in a car crash outside Los Angeles in February 2021, with Woods expected to play a limited schedule again this season.
Johnson has previously said that Woods will "play an integral role in some capacity" for Team USA when they look to regain the Ryder Cup this September at Marco Simone Golf Club, live on Sky Sports, although hasn't given up hope of him being a potential player for Team USA.
"I would only contemplate having him on the team if he felt -- if he was putting up some numbers and some scores, No 1, showing some sign of being competitive," Johnson told media ahead of the Sony Open. "Then No. 2, that discussion would be had with the other guys that are a part of that team, and specifically him.
"If there is anything I trust in Tiger Woods, is that he's extremely invested in this team and the future Cups. Extremely invested. I can't speak that enough.
"I think you would do anything and everything for betterment of the team. I assume he would say -- I don't like basing on assumptions, but I am confident that he would say, 'yeah, I can play', or 'no, I can't', if that makes sense.
"We're communicating with him quite a bit. Actually trying to get a phone call here shortly, but nothing of any substance. He's a part of the team. It's just a matter of to what degree, right?
"Another piece of that is this golf course. You've seen it. It's fun in a golf cart. I don't think it's going to be a whole lot of joy just walking, because, you know, it's extremely -- it's definitely hillier than Augusta National."
Team USA claimed a record-breaking 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits in 2021 but have not won on European soil in the biennial contest since 1993, with Johnson embracing the challenge of trying to secure a historic away success.
"There is a lot of beautiful aspects to this tournament, and I think that [home advantage] is one of them," Johnson added. "I love the fact that it's extremely difficult to win over there [in Europe]. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"Yes, if it was my turn to represent our team here, I would certainly take that upon myself if everybody saw fit. But if I had my choice, I would want to lead a team over there. I's so different. I love difficult situations. I love being uncomfortable. I love proving everything wrong. It's just the way I'm built, the way I'm wired.
"The way I see it, those kind of scenarios are just -- I keep saying it, but I love the word opportunity. I don't want to say there is more motivation, but I would say this: When I turn on the TV and none of my teams are playing, I'm still going to watch sports, and I want the team that's not supposed to win to win. That's what drives me. That's what gets me going."
Watch the Ryder Cup from September 29-October 1 exclusively live on Sky Sports!