St. Louis, United States Tiger Woods didn’t get the victory he needed to qualify for the US Ryder Cup team on points on Sunday at the 100th PGA Championship.
But the 14-time major champion, unsure a year ago if he would ever play golf again, proved his point when it came to making his case to earn a captain’s pick from Jim Furyk to play for the Americans next month in France.
The 42-year-old former world number one fired a six-under-par 64 in the final round at Bellerive Country Club to finish second to two-time US Open champion Brooks Koepka by two shots.
Woods electrified the crowd with some superb shotmaking, bringing roars from spectators to rival anything he inspired during his prime.
Eight months in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery, Woods proved beyond any doubt he has the skill to contend for a major title.
“I’m just very pleased at what I’ve done so far and now to be part of the Ryder Cup conversation, going from where I’ve come from to now in the last year, it has been pretty cool,” Woods said.
Woods will be going to France when the US defends the trophy against Europe next month anyway. He’s a vice captain on the American squad. Now he hopes to be playing also.
“I do want to be on the team as a player,” Woods said. “I’m going to be there either way.”
Furyk said Wednesday he was open to the idea of Woods serving double duty as a player and vice captain but wanted to see what worked best for the team if that possibility arose.
“Our captain has some decisions to make after the first playoff events,” Woods said. “We will sit down and give him our input and what we think, who should be on the team. And hopefully my name will be part of that process.”
The US qualifying process ended Sunday with Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson taking the final four available spots, a list unchanged from the points leaders entering the week.
Four others — Koepka, 2017 PGA winner Justin Thomas, Masters winner Patrick Reed and top-ranked Dustin Johnson, had already clinched berths no matter how they fared this week.
Furyk will officially confirm the first eight US players on Monday.
Top outsiders such as Phil Mickelson and Bryson De Chambeau missed the cut to doom their bids to break into the final list.
Simpson and Fowler, most vulnerable among the eight, did well enough to chase off any distant hopefuls. Fowler shared 12th on 272. Simpson shared 19th on 273. –AFP | by Jim SLATER