Tiger Woods registered a mere half point in the U.S. loss to Europe in the Ryder Cup, but to hear his teammates frame it, his investment in the event went far deeper than that.
The 14-time major champion was so disappointed in his performance at Medinah that he approached the U.S. team's four rookies and apologized for not producing enough points to clinch an American victory.
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"He came up to us after it was over," one of those rookies, Brandt Snedeker, told Golf World. "Walking out, (Tiger) grabbed us all and said, 'I want to let you know, I'm sorry. My job is to get more points than I did. I didn't do it. I feel bad. Put this one on me, it's my fault."
Woods went 0-3-1 for the U.S., with his half point coming in what ended up being an inconsequential singles match against Francesco Molinari. In his professional career, he has still been part of only one victorious Ryder Cup team, at Brookline in 1999. But according to Snedeker and others, Woods was a vocal and supportive teammate at Medinah.
"The rap on him is he doesn't care," said Snedeker, who after claiming the FedEx Cup title, went 1-2 in his Ryder Cup debut. "Spend five minutes in the team room and you know he does. Going out for our match, he's like, 'Hey man, make some putts, take it to them.' He was beaten up about it, that he didn't play the way he wanted to play, but he was a huge reason why the rookies that played well played well."
Woods was also not above taking shots at himself. After an 0-2 start on Friday, the former No. 1 joked about his benching the next morning.
"At dinner Friday night, he said he wasn't playing in morning, and that finally somebody could win a point," said Snedeker.
Snedeker wasn't the only rookie impressed by Woods' influence that week. Keegan Bradley, who went 3-1 in his Ryder Cup debut, said Woods took a proactive role before the matches began, even inviting Bradley to dinner during the Barclays to discuss his Ryder Cup experience.
"It's ridiculous," Bradley said of criticism directed at Woods. "His record doesn't show it but he helped all of us rookies win points . . . I can't stress enough how awesome he's been to me, and for no reason. He deserves credit because he doesn't get any. He gets beat up all the time. He's a good dude."