We have a question: Is it nepotism if you give yourself a job?
We’re just wondering after Tiger Woods did what everyone expected him to do on Wednesday – name himself to the United States President Cup team.
And why wouldn’t he? The most popular golfer in the world has experienced a career renaissance over the last 14 months by winning three Tour championships, including The Masters.
Woods has mastered the art of moderation, playing only when his body allows, resting when it doesn’t. And although he’s not bashing the ball off the tee like he once did, he’s proven adaptable enough to finesse his way around a course in winning fashion.
This wasn’t a hard decision for Woods, the team captain. He was afforded four discretionary picks in filling out his 12-player team. He chose Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed and himself.
“As captain, I’m going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team,” Woods said. “He’s made nine Cups, and he’s played in Australia twice. This will be his third appearance there. Interesting that I’m talking third person.”
Woods, who will soon turn 44, is coming off his win at the Zozo Championship in Japan two weeks ago. That was his 82nd PGA Tour title, tying him with Sam Snead for the most in the game’s history.
The win was particularly satisfying because it was his first tournament since having left knee surgery. His clubs had been in the bag for about two months.
In case you’re not a golf fan, The President Cup is a pretty big deal. It pits golfers from the USA against a team of international players. The USA has been largely successful, winning 10 of 12 events. The only International Team win was in 1998 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, ironically the site of this year’s event, which will be held from Dec. 9-15.
The eight automatic qualifiers for Team USA are Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson.
Woods also has a high-powered team of assistant captains — Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. Woods was an assistant to Stricker the last time the event was held two years ago in New Jersey.
The International Team will be captained by the great Ernie Els. On a teleconference publicizing the event, Els did not appear surprised Woods would chose Woods.
“Do I think he’s going to pick himself? I don’t think he’s got any choice,” Els said “He’s in good form. There’s nobody that strong.”
This is only the second time in Presidents Cup history that the USA will feature a playing captain. When the event was first played in 1994, Hale Irwin qualified to play and then was named the team captain.
Here’s how it works: All the golfers are required to play in just one of the four sessions prior to Sunday’s finale. Everyone then plays in singles matches on Sunday.
If you think about it, this is the perfect format for Woods. He can put himself in the lineup on the first day and then gauge his health. If his back or knees are bothering him, he can sit out until Sunday and concentrate on the other duties a captain has, like talking to the media after each round.
“The players, they wanted me to play in the event,” said Woods, who has a 24-15-1 record in President Cup play. “It’s going to be difficult, but I also have three amazing assistants. So that helps a lot. Two guys who have won Presidents Cups [as captains] and Zach who will be a future captain. Three great minds to help me when I’m playing.
“With the new rules, I just have to play one match prior to the singles. Two matches minimum. It could be more. It’s about me understanding the guys, and understanding the golf course as well.”