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“I’ve had some conversations with U.S. captain Fred Couples, and we’ll see how it goes. Of course, I want to be on the team,” wrote Woods on his website Monday afternoon. “I’m just going to keep practicing and try to get better. It’s Freddie’s call, and he can make any choice he wants.”
Maybe, though, Couples should consider selecting himself.
Playing for one of the few times since undergoing a unique treatment for his chronic ailing back in Germany, Couples, 51, won the Champions Tour’s Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship on Sunday.
One of the perks for winning the tour’s fifth major is a spot in next year’s Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s so-called fifth major.
“That’s great,” he said. “I get to play, you know, with the studs, so that’ll be fun.”
But why not just choose himself for his own American team that will face an International squad in Melbourne, Australia, in mid-November?
There have been player captains before. In fact, fellow 51-year-older Juli Inkster recently played her way onto the U.S. Solheim Cup team even after American captain Rosie Jones had selected her as an assistant captain.
When healthy Couples, who sits 109th on the U.S. points list, still has some serious game. His 290.1 driving distance average would rank 104th on the PGA Tour, but consider that is still better than Retief Goosen, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Ryan Moore and Steve Stricker.
He clearly has the respect and admiration of those who will be playing for him. Plus, the American squad should be strong enough that Couples would not need to play a heavy load of matches. In fact, he could play a foursomes match on Thursday and then sit himself on the bench until Sunday’s singles matches.
And let us not forget history. In the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, it was Couples who defeated Nick Price 1-up to clinch the United States’ 20-12 win. Two years later, Couples defeated Vijay Singh in the final singles match to secure the Yanks’ 16.5-15.5 win.
The outcry of such a decision would be deafening, but the matches could use a nice public relations boost.
Plus, what has Woods done lately?
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.