INCHEON, South Korea -- Tiger Woods is serious about helping the U.S. team at the 2016 Ryder Cup, even if he doesn't make the team as a player. He's got the long-distance phone bill to prove it.
During the second day of four-ball matches Friday in the Presidents Cup at Jack Nicklaus GC, as the U.S. team was struggling to scrounge up points against a rejuvenated International squad, Woods dialed up Fred Couples, who was serving as an assistant to Jay Haas after being the captain for winning U.S. teams in 2009, '11 and '13. They talked for a few minutes, and then he asked to speak to Davis Love III, another Haas assistant and the U.S. captain for next year's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.
"He was watching at home and he just had to call," Love said. "He was talking about all the things he thought we needed to do, and he had a lot of ideas."
Other than Tom Lehman, a Minneapolis native, Love has yet to name his assistants for the 41st Ryder Cup, which the U.S. is desperate to win after a disappointing run of three straight losses, including last year's 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 setback at Gleneagles, Scotland. Woods, who is a member of the Ryder Cup task force formed in the wake of that loss, has volunteered to serve as an assistant to Love if he doesn't qualify for the team.
The 14-time major champion recently underwent his second back surgery in as many years, and he will not play the rest of this year. Woods has not won since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and has fallen to 311th in the world rankings after occupying the No. 1 spot for a record 683 weeks.
Love, who captained the U.S. team that lost in 2012 at Medinah, where the Europeans overcame a four-point deficit the final day, said the call from Woods shows how serious he is about helping the U.S. turn around its fortunes to mirror the success it enjoys in the Presidents Cup. America improved to 9-1-1 with its one-point victory Sunday over the International team.
"He [Woods] was watching at home and he just had to call," Love said. "He was talking about all the things he thought we needed to do, and he had a lot of ideas. We're already doing a lot of planning for next year, and it's great. It's part of the whole process that started after Gleneagles. Everybody is thinking about it, which is great."
Love said the next task for him is naming assistant captains. Woods is a candidate, among many, if he doesn't qualify for the U.S. team. "But we're not waiting around for that. We've already been doing a lot of planning," Love said. "And Tiger is just as interested as the rest of us to get going."