Ryder Cup: Tiger Woods private message inspired USA pair to crush McIlroy and Poulter

By Sports Desk September 24, 2021

Tiger Woods may not be at Whistling Straits, but his influence was felt as the United States made a rip-roaring start to their Ryder Cup trophy bid.

The 45-year-old Woods is continuing his recovery from the February high-speed car crash near Los Angeles that left him with serious leg injuries, and it remains to be seen whether he is capable of playing again on tour.

But the 15-time major winner is willing the USA team to snatch back the cup from Europe, and Xander Schauffele revealed he had been in touch with a few words of encouragement.

Woods, who often struggled to take his world-beating form onto the Ryder Cup stage, had his say before the Americans raced into a 3-1 lead following the morning foursomes.

Schauffele, after teaming up with fellow debutant Patrick Cantlay to land a dazzling 5 and 3 win over Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, confirmed Woods wanted to offer help from afar.

 

"We got a nice message from Tiger last night," Schauffele said on the Golf Channel.

"I'm not going to reveal what it said, but Pat and I knew and we referred to it a few times today, and we knew what we needed to do.

"We knew he was fist-pumping from the couch. Whether he was on crutches or not, he's as fired up as anyone back at home, so it's nice to have his support."

Woods has a disappointing record of just 13 wins from 37 Ryder Cup matches, an unexpectedly weak performance given his PGA Tour and major championship prowess.

But he remains an idol for many players on the team, with Schauffele and Cantlay two of six rookies on Steve Stricker's roster this year.

Cantlay said: "[There's] no better role model and no better leader and somebody you can always learn from.

"I saw him last week at home and picked his brain on Ryder Cup and applied some of that here today."

The USA pair sped to a 5up lead through five holes on the way to their dominant victory, feeding off the largely American crowd.

A disappointed McIlroy said: "The start wasn't great. I don't know if anyone could have beat Xander and Patrick today.

"They played really good, four birdies in a row. Geez, yeah, they played great. They were a great pairing today, and all you can do is praise them for the way they played."

Related items

  • Winther overcomes bathroom drama to hold firm at Mallorca Open Winther overcomes bathroom drama to hold firm at Mallorca Open

    Mallorca Open champion Jeff Winther revealed he very nearly missed his tee time on Sunday, though he did not let a bathroom fiasco prevent him from claiming a maiden European Tour title.

    Overnight leader Winther carded a closing 70 to remain on 15 under-par, keeping him one shot in front of Spanish duo Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo, and Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

    The 30-year-old carded two 62s over the tournament, and just did enough on his final round.

    However, he was almost caught out by a bathroom-related drama, and had to rely on his young daughter to get him out of a tricky situation.

    "After breakfast I went to have a shower and my wife came in to use the bathroom as well," he said. "The door closed, and there's no lock, but we locked ourselves in. There's no lock on the door but the handle didn't work.

    "Our little girl Nora, six years old, had to go and find guys at reception to break down the door. We were in there for 45 minutes, I think. I thought, 'jeez not today, not Sunday, you're leading the freaking event. Might not get there for your tee time'. What a morning!

    "It's not sinking in. I couldn't have a better week. I said at the start of the week that this was going to be like a holiday and apparently holidays work out for me."

    While Winther celebrated his first victory on the Tour, Soderberg finished in second place for the second week running. 

    Soderberg's 68 wedged him between the scores of Angles (67) and Campillo (69), with the trio sharing second place on 14 under.

    The lowest score of the day was achieved by Laurie Canter, who went round in 64 to finish at 12 under alongside Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez. The Englishman has finished in the top five in three of his last four events.

  • Matsuyama wins first title since Masters on home soil at Zozo Championship Matsuyama wins first title since Masters on home soil at Zozo Championship

    Hideki Matsuyama won his first PGA Tour title since his Masters triumph in April as he stormed to victory at the Zozo Championship on home soil.

    The Japanese star claimed the seventh win of his career with a brilliant 65 on the final day, gaining four strokes on the back nine.

    Matsuyama had gone into Sunday's action with only a one-shot lead over Cameron Triangle but ended up comfortably triumphing by five shots with a score of 15 under, eagles on the sixth and 18th helping him to glory.

    The 29-year-old had lost a play-off at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in August but this triumph ensures the Masters will not be his sole success of 2021.

    An impressive 66 from Brendan Steele saw him join fellow American Triangle on 10 under to finish the tournament in a tie for second place in Chiba, Japan.

    There was another big gap below that pair, with Mackenzie Hughes, Sebastian Munoz and Matt Wallace finishing four further back on six under in a share of fourth position.

    Reigning Open champion Collin Morikawa and Tommy Fleetwood were among a group of eight players to finish in a tie for seventh place on five under.

  • Masters champion Matsuyama retains Zozo Championship lead Masters champion Matsuyama retains Zozo Championship lead

    Hideki Matsuyama will head into Sunday with a slender one-shot lead in the Zozo Championship on home soil.

    The 2021 Masters champion carded a 68 to remain a stroke clear of Cameron Tringale on 10 under in Chiba, Japan.

    Matsuyama had looked set for a more comfortable night's sleep on Saturday, but a bogey six at the last coupled with a birdie on the same hole for Tringale cut his advantage.

    Sebastian Munoz, Brendan Steele and Matt Wallace all sit on six under par, with Branden Grace and Tommy Fleetwood on the fringes of contention a shot further back.

    Reigning Open champion Collin Morikawa's third-round 67 put him within six of the leader.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.