Tiger set to make America great again

Nathan Murphy previews the 2018 Ryder Cup in France

BY Nathan Murphy 15:32 Thursday 27 September 2018, 15:32 27 Sep 2018

Tiger Woods of the US stands during a practice round for the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, outside Paris, France, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held in France from Sept. 28-30, 2018, at the Albatros Course of Le Golf National. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Phil Mickelson has found himself in quite a few unusual situations throughout his career but it's hard to imagine a more far fetched scenario than what played out in the USA team-room on the Friday night of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. 

Mickelson, the five-time major winner, the 11-time Ryder Cup veteran, was stood in front of his vice-captain Tiger Woods wearing a red, white and blue onesie. Alongside Mickelson were his 11 American team-mates, who simultaneously unzipped their onesies to reveal t-shirts with the words "MAKE TIGER GREAT AGAIN" emblazoned across them. 

The joke worked a treat, Tiger fell around the floor laughing, later describing the stunt as "awesome". It was a stunt that was hard to imagine anyone daring to pull for the previous two decades but was a clear insight into how Tiger was a changed man.

The Ryder Cup and Tiger Woods have never been particularly happy bedfellows. Brookline in 1999 is Woods only victory in the event in 7 appearances as a player.

He’s lost more matches than he’s won and he’s never been the leader America so desperately needed as Europe dominated the event. Instead of inspiring his teammates and intimidating his European opponents, former USA captain Davis Love III often felt it went the other way, with Woods playing partners overawed by his aura.

That shouldn’t be the case this week. Woods' take-down of Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the final round of the Tour Championship will have sent a shiver down the spine of Thomas Bjorn, while his blossoming friendship with Mickelson and his nurturing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed means this should be the Ryder Cup that Tiger makes America Great Again. 

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