Tiger Woods picks himself to play in Presidents Cup

Alex Butler
Golf star Tiger Woods will be the first playing captain at the Presidents Cup since 1994. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Golf star Tiger Woods will be the first playing captain at the Presidents Cup since 1994. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- United States captain Tiger Woods selected himself as a member of the star-studded golf team that will take on an International Team at December's Presidents Cup in Australia.

Woods announced his decision at a news conference Thursday in Jupiter, Fla. He also named Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed to the USA's 12-man team. The 2019 Presidents Cup takes place from Dec. 12 to Dec. 15 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.


"As captain, I'm going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team," Woods said. "He has made nine cups and played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup."

Woods announced Finau as his first at-large pick. Finau, 30, has one career victory on the PGA Tour. He is ranked No. 14 in the world. Reed was Woods' second pick. Reed, 29, has two previous Presidents Cup appearances. He has seven career PGA Tour wins and ranks No. 15 in the world. Gary Woodland, 35, was Woods' third choice. The No. 16 player in the world has four career PGA Tour wins. Woodland is set to make his team-event debut.

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"I'm excited to add my talent to the mix of guys and to play for Tiger," Finau said. "It was a goal of mine to start the season. I was very pleased to get that phone call. It's one that I'll remember forever."

The U.S. Team also includes: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay.

"I had dual roles," Woods said. "I had to get the respect of the players. The players, they wanted me to play in the event. It's going to be difficult, but I have three amazing assistants ... That helps a lot."

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The U.S. Team includes every American player ranked inside the top 16, including Woods (No. 7). Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth were among the golfers who weren't chosen this year after playing in the 2017 Presidents Cup. Fowler has not played since November's Tour Championship. Fowler still has a possibility of playing in the tournament if Koepka decides to sit out due to a left knee injury.


"He's rehabbing, trying to get better, trying to get ready to play,'' Woods said of Koepka. "Let him focus on that. Put all his energy into that. When he starts playing golf, he'll let me know and I told him to keep me abreast of what's happening.''

Woods said calling Fowler to tell him he didn't make the team was the "toughest call" he had to make. Woods made five calls to players to tell them they didn't make the team.

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The International Team includes: Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith, C.T. Pan, Jason Day, Sungjae Im, Adam Hadwin and Joaquin Niemann.

"It means so much to me to be a part of this team and I'm going to do everything I can to help the USA bring home the Presidents Cup," Reed said.

The Americans have won the Presidents Cup seven consecutive times entering the 2019 version of the tournament. The U.S. Team has only one loss in Presidents Cup history. Woods will be the first playing captain since 1994, the first edition of the tournament. Woods has a 24-15-1 record at the Presidents Cup.


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