By Sam Weinman
Are you ready for the ad nauseam discussion over whether Tiger Woods deserves to be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team? No? Too bad, because it's already well under way.
After Woods himself chimed in on Sunday at the British Open to say he would contribute to captain Tom Watson's team, Jack Nicklaus said on Thursday a Woods wildcard pick is essentially a no-brainer. But hey, no pressure, Tom!
"Oh, absolutely," Nicklaus said on a conference call Thursday with reporters to promote the PGA Championship. "I couldn't imagine [Woods] not being on a Ryder Cup team, unless he does absolutely nothing in recovering from his game between now and then."
The endorsement can be parsed a bunch of different ways -- what's the definition of doing "nothing in recovering"? -- but it's clear Nicklaus believes the U.S. team is better off with Woods than without him. If Woods does not play his way onto the team in the next two weeks -- he probably needs a win in either the Bridgestone or the PGA -- he would have to rely on one of Watson's three captain's picks Sept. 2. And to hear Nicklaus put it, his old rival would be crazy to pass on the 14-time major winner.
"I don't care what he does between now and then. If Tiger wants to play, I would certainly choose him," Nicklaus said. "My guess is that Tom feels pretty much the same way. Tom would certainly like to have Tiger on his team and I think anybody in their right mind, unless he just doesn't want to play or doesn't think he could play, would not choose him."