SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, FRANCE – When Tiger Woods finally had a moment to exhale Sunday evening after his sport-stopping victory in the Tour Championship, he walked into a meeting room at an Atlanta hotel to meet his Ryder Cup teammates before they hopped on the charter to Paris.
Whatever kind of reception Woods was expecting after his first win in more than five years, he didn’t get it.
He hardly got anything – for a moment anyway.
His teammates, led by captain Jim Furyk, intended to playfully give Woods the cold shoulder, or at least make him work for the backslapping that was to come.
They almost got there.
When Woods arrived, he was told Furyk wanted to see him. Furyk hardly acknowledged Woods – until he couldn’t keep a straight face any longer.
“The plan was perfect,” vice captain Zach Johnson said. “The execution was terrible.”
Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, said in a radio interview the freeze out lasted a couple of minutes. Johnson doubted it lasted that long.
It was too big a moment, too important an achievement on the eve of another Ryder Cup to pull it off, though Woods appreciated the attempt. He did get a standing ovation from his teammates once the ruse fell apart.
As in regular tournament play, Woods is central to the storyline here at Le Golf National. This is his eighth Ryder Cup as a player, and he’s been on only one winning team – way back in 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Woods is 4-1-2 in Ryder Cup singles play but with 12 different partners he is just 9-16-1. The only partners he has a winning record with in Ryder Cup play are Davis Love III (2-1) and Chris Riley (1-0). Woods has played every session but one in his seven previous Ryder Cup appearances, though it is doubtful he will play all five this year.
There’s still an air of mystery about whom Furyk will pair with Woods, though it seems increasingly likely that Patrick Reed will play with him at some point.
The notion of Woods and Phil Mickelson reviving their unsuccessful pairing at the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills was effectively quashed by Furyk on Wednesday.
“I won’t ever say it wouldn’t happen, but it’s probably not too likely,” Furyk said when asked specifically about the possibility.