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Tiger Woods has completed his team for next month’s Presidents Cup with four wild cards – and, as expected, he’s picked himself as one of them.

Woods, 43, will captain the US side for their clash with Ernie Els’ International side at Royal Melbourne.

Unlike his opposite number, however, the 15-time major winner will combine his off-course responsibilities with on-course duties as one of the 12-man American side as the USA looks to win the biennial contest for the eighth straight time.

His other three picks went to US Open champion Gary Woodland, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed. The latter’s selection is bound to create interest following his part in the furore that followed the USA’s Ryder Cup defeat last year.

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They join automatic qualifiers Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay, as well as Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau in the American team.

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Notable by their absence: Jordan Spieth, who will be absent from an American side for the first time since 2012 having tumbled to 42nd on the world rankings, and Phil Mickelson. The left-hander has featued on every single US team going back to 1993 and every single edition of the Presidents Cup to date.

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However, there’s little doubt as to what the biggest talking point is.

“As captain, I’m going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team,” he said. “He’s made, what, nine cups and he’s played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup, so this will be his third appearance as a player, and I find it interesting talking in the third person.

“It’s going to be difficult, but also I have three amazing assistants with Fred [Couples], Strick [Steve Stricker] and Zach [Johnson], and that helps a lot, two guys that have won Presidents Cups and one will be a future captain along the line in the near future. Three great minds that will help ‘me when I’m playing.”

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Woods will become the first playing captain of an American side since 1994, when Hale Irwin performed dual duties in the very first Presidents Cup. He did a decent job of combining his responsibilities, too, winning two of his three matches as the US ran out 20-12 winners.

“With the format change, I just have to play the one match prior to singles, so a two-match minimum for every player in The Presidents Cup, and if I happen to play more, I have to play more,” added Woods.”

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To date, the US has lost only one of the 12 previous editions of the match and, with 11 of the side in the top-20 of the world rankings compared to two on the Internationals team, they are heavily fancied to extend their winning run.

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Woods, though, is guarding against complacency.

“On paper, we certainly have the advantage in the world rankings,” he said. “Our
players have earned that by playing well around the world and playing well in big events. [But] when it comes right down to it, like I told the guys, when you start out on Thursday, it’s 0-0.

“We have to go out and win this cup. Doesn’t matter what the world ranking is. You have to go and beat the other guys, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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