Tiger Woods hints he’ll be a playing captain at 2019 Presidents Cup

Captain Tiger may also be out there playing for points next year in Melbourne.

Tiger makes no secret of his desire to play and helm the 2019 U.S. Presidents Cup squad. 

Tiger Woods really enjoyed his stints as vice skipper of the 2016 Ryder Cup team and 2017 Presidents Cup teams and, though he’s eager to head up next year’s U.S. squad, the Big Cat has his sights set on prowling the Royal Melbourne Golf Course course as a playing captain.

“Uh, yes, I have,” Woods, with a big smile, said cagily on Tuesday about whether he had considered the possibility of a dual role in Australia.

“I would like to get to a point where I have to make that decision,” a jovial Woods explained later during a press conference to introduce him and Ernie Els as the captains for the two opposing sides. “Get to where I’m playing well enough where … I could make the team on points.”

He hoped not to have to convince the captain to pick him to fill out the team.

“I wouldn’t want to have the conversation, you know, and go, ‘Self,’” he said, laughing. “I don’t really want to have that conversation. So let’s just see how it progresses.”

Woods and Els — each with eight Presidents Cup matches under their belts, including the dramatic 2003 sudden-death playoff that ended in a tie — leading their charges into golf battle adds a much-needed buzz to the matches in which Team USA holds a commanding 10-1-1 record.

The timing of the Prez Cup announcement, however, was rather odd, given that Woods has a chance this week to earn a record ninth victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and with the Masters less than month away.

“We’re still almost two years out,” Woods pointed out regarding whether his schedule would change or with whom he might play practice rounds. “There’s a lot of golf to be played, there’s lot of events to won, points to be earned.

“Let’s just keep it light. Let them go compete; I’m going to try to beat them, they’re going to try to beat me,” he added. “You just never know how a player’s going to play two years from now.”

Speaking of which, Woods, though fresh off a T2 finish at last week’s Valspar Championship, sought to temper expectations for his pending return to Bay Hill for the first time since he prevailed on the Orlando course in 2013.

“Just because I’ve won here eight times doesn’t mean I’m going to win this week automatically. I still have to do the work … I have to do some serious homework tomorrow and really get to know and get the feel of how this golf course is playing this particular year,” he said in an API-specific presser that immediately followed the Presidents Cup media gathering. “I haven’t played here in five years.”

As for his ability to play and oversee his Presidents Cup team, Woods said he asked tour commissioner Jay Monahan if there were any official prohibition to such an occurrence.

“I just wondered if that was an opportunity and he said that there’s nothing in the bylaws that says that I can’t do it … if I happen to get to that point,” said Woods. “That’s a bridge that’s a long way away from now to be crossing but if it it does come to that point it won’t just be just my decision. It will be a collaborative effort, what is best for the team.”

And while his upcoming gig as a Prez Cup chief no doubt paves the way for Woods to head up a more prestigious Ryder Cup one day, for now it’s pretty clear what Tiger expects of himself in 2019 — and Els agreed.

“I think he’s getting in position to maybe play,” said Els, who made it clear he would remain on the sidelines. “I think we’re going to be captaining.”

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