In the nascent stages of his latest comeback, Tiger Woods said he was entertaining the idea as serving as a playing vice-captain at this year's Ryder Cup. It made for a nice headline, but even the staunchest Tiger fans could agree that seemed ambitious; Woods missing the cut at that week's Genesis Open didn't erase those doubts.
However, the last six months have told a different tale, and though the 42-year-old wasn't one of the eight automatic selections for the U.S. team, Woods has built a strong case for captain's pick candidacy.
But, if Woods does get one of the four nods—and let's be frank, it would be a major shock if he did not—Tiger won't be on double duty for the American squad. And that's coming from the man he'll be working under in Paris.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, captain Jim Furyk said that if Woods does make the roster as a player, he will be removed from his assistant responsibilities.
"I want to make sure I have five vice-captains there," Furyk said. "That's what we're allowed, and I see a lot of value in having all five there."
At the moment, Furyk only has tabbed three assistants—Woods, two-time Ryder Cup captain Davie Love III and Steve Stricker (last year's Presidents Cup captain, and a favorite to be the head man at his home state of Wisconsin at the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits)—meaning he could be searching for three assistants along with the four player selections on the slate.
As for Woods' prospects, Furyk responded in the affirmative.
"What is important is how well Tiger has played," Furyk said. "Sixth place at The Open Championship, a second place at the PGA. His game—I think the word he used is 'trending.' His game is trending. So it's great to see him playing well."
Woods hasn't played in a U.S. team event since the 2013 Presidents Cup, although has served as an assistant at the 2016 Ryder Cup and 2017 Presidents Cup.
This year's Ryder Cup begins on Sept. 28 at Le Golf National outside Paris. The Americans are the defending champs, but haven't won in Europe in 25 years.