|Tiger Woods of the U.S. hits from a bunker to the first green during the second round of the 93rd PGA Championship golf tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia, August 12, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk
Wildcard selection Tiger Woods will come in for a heap of criticism if he fails to perform at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in November, according to Australian great Peter Thomson.
A woefully out of form Woods has plummeted from first to 49th in the world rankings in the past 10 months but he has already been told by United States captain Fred Couples he will be a wildcard choice against the International team.
“I wonder which Tiger Woods will turn up this year,” five-times British Open champion Thomson told Reuters in an interview.
“If he performs poorly, and less than we’ve come to expect from Tiger, then he’s in for a lot of criticism.
“There will be enormous pressure on his shoulders to perform and he’s going to be under intense scrutiny given he didn’t qualify automatically for the team,“ added Thomson.
Couples explained last month why the 35-year-old American was certain to receive one of his two wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup-style competition.
“I’ve told him he’s going to be on the team,“ Couples told reporters. “He’s the best player in the world forever.“
Woods, who has won 14 majors, has played in every Presidents Cup since 1998 but has been a shadow of his former dominant self since the end of 2009 while trying to rebuild his golf swing and private life following the breakup of his marriage.
The 82-year-old Thomson, visiting the ‘home of golf’ at St Andrews for a Royal & Ancient Golf Club function, was captain of the Internationals when the Presidents Cup was last held at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
The team skippered by Thomson 13 years ago is still the only International side to win the event.
“The Tiger Woods that arrived in Melbourne back in ‘98 didn’t play that well though he finished off the event well in beating Greg Norman (in the last-day singles),“ said Thomson.
“But by then the event really was over and the International team was assured of victory. He seemed a bit mystified about the course and how to putt on the greens and he just didn’t shine at all.“
Norman will captain the Internationals in the biennial team event in Australia from Nov. 17-20.