By Andrew Both
CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – Tiger Woods’ victory at the Zozo Championship on Monday made all but certain his appearance in one global golf event and boosted his chances of competing in another.
Woods will captain the American side at December’s Presidents Cup in Australia, and even before winning at Narashino Country Club had been widely expected to choose himself as one of his four captain’s picks to join the eight automatic qualifiers on the team.
“I think certainly as a player I got the captain’s attention,” he joked after matching Sam Snead’s record of 82 career victories on the PGA Tour.
Woods has one more week to assess the form of potential choices, and will watch from afar as some of them have a final audition at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions tournament starting in Shanghai on Thursday.
He sat out the 2017 Presidents Cup while rehabilitating after spinal surgery that he had undergone five months earlier.
But he was on the American team on the two previous occasions the Presidents Cup was held at Royal Melbourne, in 1998 and 2011.
While the Presidents Cup is just around the corner, next year’s Olympic golf in Tokyo also looms large.
Only the top four American players in the world rankings will qualify, so Woods’ place is far from assured, given the depth of talent in the American ranks.
He vaulted from 10th to sixth in the world with his win on Monday, but is still only the fourth-ranked American behind Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
He can ill afford to have another quiet patch like his mediocre form in the four months after his Masters victory this year.
“Hopefully I can play a little better than I did post-Masters this year and qualify for the team,” he said.
(Editing by Michael Perry)