Stricker: Tiger optimistic he will ‘play golf again’

Stricker: Tiger optimistic he will 'play golf again'

Tiger Woods won’t be one of Steve Stricker‘s assistants at the Ryder Cup, but the U.S. captain, who has been in touch with the golfer, gave the most optimistic update since Woods was involved in a serious car accident on Feb. 23.

Speaking to SiriusXM Radio after making his six picks for the U.S. team that will play against Europe starting Sept. 24, Stricker for the first time suggested the 15-time major champion might try to play golf again.

“I’ve talked to Tiger a lot,” Stricker said in the interview at Whistling Straits with former PGA Tour players Carl Paulson and Dennis Paulson. “He’s a part of this Ryder Cup family; he won’t be able to be a captain’s assistant this time around just because of his ongoing rehabilitation to try to get better and try to play golf again, and that is going well. He’s progressing, he’s doing well, things are moving in the right direction.”

Last week, Stricker told ESPN that Woods would not be at Whistling Straits as a vice captain. “He’s just not able to be there at this time. He’s progressing nicely, but Whistling Straits is a tough place to get around. He’s already been helping and will continue to.”

Woods suffered significant injuries, including broken bones in his right leg and multiple injuries to his right ankle and foot, in the crash in Southern California. Neither Woods nor his agent, Mark Steinberg, has offered any official word on his progress in months aside from a photo Woods posted to social media of him on crutches in his backyard. That was in late April. Steinberg could not be reached Wednesday.

Woods, who went 3-0 as playing captain for the U.S. at the 2019 Presidents Cup, last played in December at the Father-Son event with his son, Charlie. His last official tournament was the 2020 Masters in November.

He had undergone a fourth back procedure in late December and was rehabilitating from that in February when the accident occurred while he was on his way to a documentary shoot at a golf course.

Woods was driving at a high speed when his car crossed a median and ended up rolling over in a grassy area. He was in the hospital for nearly a month.

In recent years, Woods had taken a big interest in being part of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. He assisted Stricker at the 2017 Presidents Cup and was an assistant to Davis Love III at the 2016 Ryder Cup, both U.S. victories. He went 0-4 in 2018 in his last Ryder Cup appearance.