Ryder Cup notes: Teammates letting Tiger down?

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods hits from a sand trap on the second hole during a practice round at the...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods hits from a sand trap on the second hole during a practice round at the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 25, 2012. (REUTERS)

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:46 PM ET

CHICAGO - Tiger Woods is the greatest player of his generation and one of the the best in the history of the game.

In Ryder Cups? Not so much.

Throughout Woods' reign of terror on the PGA Tour and in majors and World Golf Championship events during the late 1990s and early 2000s, he amassed an impressive individual record. But his success hasn't translated to the team sport that is the Ryder Cup, where his career mark is a sub-.500 13-14-2.

It left his contemporaries scratching their heads at Medinah Country Club.

Graeme McDowell tried to explain it in soccer terms.

"I kind of liken it to playing premiership football," he said. "The biggest teams, the Manchester Uniteds, the Liverpools, the Chelseas, the Arsenals. Any lesser team that comes to play these guys, they have a tendency to raise their game because it's a huge game.

"For an underdog to play a Tiger Woods, they get up for it. They are not expected to win ... so (the underdog) lets it all go and he plays out of his skin and gets the upset."

Woods' longtime teammate, Jim Furyk, said Woods isn't wholly to blame.

"I think with as dominant as he was though most of those years, I think anyone would be a little surprised to see a .500 (record)," Furyk said. "But also that has a lot to do with ... no one has an extremely good record on our team. If we all had a 75% winning percentage, we would be 5-2 rather than 2-5."

Furyk added: "I'd be interested to hear what his individual record was," and, when told it was 4-1, his suspicions were confirmed.

"4-1-1? So yeah, that's probably the rest of our fault then. How's that? That's my theory."

And from the man himself?

"Well, certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for. I didn't go 5-0 on our side (each time) ... I needed to get my points for my team and I didn't do that.

"Hopefully I can do that this week."

WOODS PREPARES A TOAST TO JORDAN

Tiger Woods was asked Tuesday about his memories of the first time he met legendary basketball star Michael Jordan and it's surprising he can recall them.

"Well, the first time I had ever been around him, he fed me some beverages and the next day was a little bit more difficult than I would have liked it to be," Woods said of the Chicago sports great who is acting as an ambassador for U.S. team.

Woods said it's great to have him as part of the team and that one of his favourite moments from the 1997 Ryder Cup was seeing Jordan riding around in a golf cart.

"I think it's hilarious ... you don't see guys who are 6-foot-6 out here too often."

EUROPEANS INSPIRED BY SEVE

 The Europeans won't have to look far for inspiration this week at Medinah.

Their golf bags feature a silhouette of the late Ryder Cup great Seve Ballesteros, who died of cancer in May 2011, in the pose he made after winning the British Open at St. Andrews in 1984.

"It's tough for me, you know, it's going to be the first time that Seve is not going to be with us at the Ryder Cup," said Ballesteros' former playing partner and current Euro captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

"We came up with the idea that it would be nice to have Seve's silhouette, and so every time somebody gets to grab a club from the bag, they can see (it)."

There are rumours the Europeans will wear the all-navy blue outfit with white shirt that Ballesteros wore at that British Open, an image that has endured.

"(Choosing) the silhouette was pretty obvious," Olazabal said. "(Seve) always said that was the sweetest moment in his career ... making that putt to beat Tom Watson."

 


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