Ryder Cup 2012: Tiger Woods vows to improve record

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer at the Medinah Country Club

Tiger Woods has vowed to make up for his past Ryder Cup disappointments by leading the US to victory over Europe at Medinah this week.

The 14-time major winner has a losing record in the biennial competition and has finished on the winning side just once in six attempts.

"I didn't earn the points I was put out there for," said the world number two.

"Hopefully I can do that this week, and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this rolling."

In 29 Ryder Cup matches Woods has lost 14, won 13 and halved two, with his record in the alternate-shot foursomes - seven losses in 12 matches - a particular weakness.

Having missed the US victory at Valhalla four years ago through injury it means that he has finished on the winning side only at Brookline in 1999.

Along with Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, Woods represents the experienced heart of captain Davis Love III's team. But not one of the three has a winning Ryder Cup record.

"In order to win Cups you have to earn points, and we have certainly not earned points," said Woods.

"On top of that, Phil, Jim and myself have been put out a lot during those years, so if we are not earning points then it's hard to win Ryder Cups that way.

"That (Brookline) was certainly an experience - I've never been part of anything like that. I've never seen a comeback like that in golf, in a team atmosphere. It was something I will never ever forget."

Over the years Woods has lost matches to players as relatively unheralded as Costantino Rocca and Paul McGinley, but Europe's Graeme McDowell came to the American's defence earlier in the day.

"I think it's very difficult to be critical of Tiger," said McDowell.

"It's a huge game for an underdog to play a Tiger Woods, and they get up for it.

"They are not expected to win. When expectation levels drop, game tends to improve. A guy who plays Tiger Woods, or a player of that calibre, doesn't expect to win so he lets it all go and he plays out of his skin and gets the upset."

McDowell is almost certain to be paired with current world number one Rory McIlroy, and Woods agrees with Furyk and former US player and captain Paul Azinger that this makes the 23-year-old a target for the home team this week.

"It's part of being consistent. It's part of being ranked number one, it's part of winning major championships.

"You're always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that's just part of the deal. That's a fun challenge."

The 36-year-old Woods, a different man to the swashbuckling young tyro who turned up for his Ryder Cup debut in Spain 15 years ago, was keen to underline his enthusiasm for a competition that, seemingly, he has not always loved or perhaps fully understood.

"For us to represent the USA and our team-mates is something else," he said.

"There's so much heat on you, which is very different. Playing for team-mates adds an element to that - it means so much more because it is our country, and it is our team-mates.

"We want to get to know each other and get our games right and be ready for Ryder Cup week. It comes down to one moment."

Woods won both the US PGA Championships played at Medinah, in 1999 and 2006, but he denied this gave him a significant advantage over his European rivals.

"1999 was a big one for me. To have won my second major was so important - it validated my first (at the Masters in 1997) and gave me the confidence that I could go ahead," he said.

"But it's a different course again. I'm going to need to do my homework so that whoever I go out with I will ready and able to contribute, to understand this golf course and how to play it."

Friday, 28 September (all times BST)

23:59-02:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day One

Saturday 29 September

11:00-13:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day One highlights

23:59-02:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day Two

Sunday 30 September

14:00-16:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day Two highlights

23:00-01:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day Three

Monday 1 October

19:00-20:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day Three highlights


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