Woods ready to end poor Ryder Cup run as Europe settles in

AMERICAN great Tiger Woods has admitted he is largely responsible for his country’s poor Ryder Cup record against Europe.

America have won only one of the last five tournaments – in a period where Woods was the world’s dominant individual player – the last coming in 2008 when the sport’s biggest name was injured.

“I believe I was out there in five sessions each time and I didn’t go 5-0 on our side,” Woods said. “So I certainly am a part of that and that’s part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team, and I didn’t do that. Hopefully I can do that this week and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling.

“In order to win Cups, you have to earn points and we certainly have not earned points. And on top of that,

I think that Phil [Mickelson], Jim [Furyk] and myself have been put out there a lot during those years.

So if we are not earning points, it’s hard to win Ryder Cups that way.

“That [Brookline, the 1999 Ryder Cup which America won] was certainly an experience – I’ve never been part of anything like that. I’ve never seen a comeback like that in golf, in a team atmosphere. It was something I will never forget.

Woods also admitted that, should he come face to face with world No1 Rory McIlroy, he would relish the challenge.

“It’s part of being consistent,” he added. “It’s part of being ranked No1, it’s part of winning major championships. You’re always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that’s just part of the deal. That’s a fun challenge.

“I certainly have relished it over the years and I’m sure he’s going to relish it this week.”

For Europe, the first substantial indications surrounding captain Jose-Maria Olazabal’s opening pairings emerged yesterday in the first practice round at the Medinah Country Club course.

Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were in one group, McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Paul Lawrie and Sergio Garcia were in the next, and the third comprised of Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, rookie Nicolas Colsaerts and Peter Hanson.

“You can pretty much predict our first eight players on Friday morning,” said Poulter.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the next three days pan out, but I can tell you that the first four guys are Poulter, Rose, Westwood and Donald, and myself and Rory are in the second group with Lawrie and Garcia. So there’s your eight, fairly predictable.”

For America, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson were in one group, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchard, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson were in the next, and Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker were in the last.