Tiger Woods declined Tuesday to speculate on the likelihood he will succeed Steve Stricker as Ryder Cup captain for the 2023 matches in Italy, but he can't wait to work alongside the Madison golfer at Whistling Straits in 2021.
In a news conference ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at The Memorial Tournament this week in Dublin, Ohio, Woods said that he was among those working with Stricker on the logistics of leading a U.S. Ryder Cup team during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the event the PGA of America and the European Tour had found a way to hold the 2020 matches, as scheduled, this September at Whistling Straits in Haven. Last week, the decision was announced to postpone the Ryder Cup to 2021.
"We did the right thing of holding off for the year," said Woods, who is No. 9 on the U.S. Ryder Cup points standing. "And now, from the U.S. side, we're going to have to figure out how we're going to accumulate points, how many players Strick is going to be able to pick ... and build our team from there.
"The fact that we were going to play the Ryder Cup, we were in position — what we were going to do as far as the vice captains, the team, how we were going to play practice rounds going forward and gelling as a team this year. All of a sudden, the (PGA) Tour is suspended (and) we're not playing."
Woods, who will be 45 when the 2021 matches are played on the Straits Course, said he was glad the PGA didn't go forward with plans to play the Ryder Cup in front of a significantly reduced gallery or no fans at all.
"Quite frankly, a Ryder Cup without fans is not the Ryder Cup," Woods said. "As it is now, OK? When the Ryder Cup first started, there weren't that many people involved in the game ... but the world has expanded, the event has expanded, and as far as I can remember, I've always seen people involved in a Ryder Cup. ... The chanting and screaming and the participation, the bipartisanship that has been part of the sport and part of the event. I think what they did with suspending it for the year and moving it to next year was the right thing.
"We couldn't have an environment in which we could protect all the fans that were going to be involved and have that type of insurance. Obviously, if that's the case, you can't have the fans. Well, if you can't have the fans, then it's not the Ryder Cup."
Meanwhile, Woods — the victorious Presidents Cup captain during last year's matches in Australia — reiterated that, at this point, he is in no rush to captain a Ryder Cup team.
"I did my captaincy last year, and it was a lot of work," Woods said. "And I'm sure that I'll look into (being a Ryder Cup captain) in the future."