Masters 2019: Tiger Woods moves up to top spot in early Ryder Cup points standings with Masters victory
There's a lot to dissect in the aftermath of Tiger Woods' fifth Masters title, leaving golf fans with tons of reasons to celebrate the 15-time major champion's accomplishments. One of the things likely not on the front of most people's mind was that Tiger's victory all but locked up a spot on the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits.
Of course, even without a victory, a healthy Tiger would almost certainly get a captains' pick, like he did in 2018 for the Matches at Le Golf National and 2010 at Celtic Manor. The Masters victory boosted Tiger up to No. 1 in the (very) early Ryder Cup points standings on Steve Stricker's squad.
Tiger—who also moved up to No. 6 in the world with his win—discussed earlier in the week that his goal was to be a playing captain on his 2019 Presidents Cup team, and Sunday locked up that possibility, as well, if Tiger's healthy and willing to do it. Tiger will captain the U.S. team, along with his vice captains Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson, against Ernie Els' International squad at Royal Melbourne this December. There hasn't been a playing captain in the short history of the Presidents Cup, and Arnold Palmer was the last playing captain in the Ryder Cup in 1963 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
If Tiger were to tee it up in the 2020 Ryder Cup, it would be his ninth appearance in the biennial matches. Curiously, the United States have only come out victorious one of those nine tries (1999, The Country Club). Tiger also boasts a less than stellar record at the Ryder Cup, going 13-21-3 overall, but he is 4-2-2 in singles. One of his more forgettable singles matches came against his playing competitor on Sunday at Augusta National, Francesco Molinari, as the Italian earned the clinching half point for the Europeans at the Miracle at Medinah in 2012. Molinari teamed up with Tommy Fleetwood to defeat Tiger three times in 2018, too, in two four-ball matches (alongside Patrick Reed) and once in foursomes (with Bryson DeChambeau).
Perhaps a Molinari vs. Tiger rematch is in the cards at Whistling Straits. It's too early to dream up those possibilities, but a healthy Tiger will have golf fans even more pumped for the 2020 Ryder Cup, and the 2019 Presidents Cup if Tiger plays on his own team, which seems like a true reality.
Here are the full Ryder Cup standings after the Masters, which you shouldn't put too much stock in, as we still have seven more majors to be played until the Ryder Cup standings are locked in 2020. But it's fun to look at:
1. Tiger Woods 2. Dustin Johnson 3. Kevin Kisner 4. Xander Schauffele 5. Brooks Koepka 6. Matt Kuchar 7. Jim Furyk 8. Webb Simpson 9. Tony Finau 10. Patrick Cantlay 11. Justin Thomas 12. Rickie Fowler 13. Bubba Watson 14. Brandt Snedeker 15. Aaron Wise 16. Keegan Bradley 17. Kevin Na 18. Phil Mickeslon 19. Gary Woodland 20. Bryson DeChambeau 21. Patton Kizzire 22. Charles Howell III 23. Jordan Spieth 24. Patrick Reed 25. Kyle Stanley
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