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Tiger Woods intent on changing US Ryder Cup fortunes

He is still wading through the hundreds of text messages following his stunning ...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 12:49 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 12:49 PM

He is still wading through the hundreds of text messages following his stunning Tour Championship victory, but Tiger Woods concedes he has more pressing issues this week as he attempts to reverse USA's poor away record in the Ryder Cup.

Woods clinched his first title for five years in Atlanta Sunday, before joining the rest of his American team for an overnight flight to Paris for this week's match against Europe at Le Golf National.

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The USA is the defending champion after a resounding 17-11 victory at Hazeltine two years ago, but it has not won on European soil since 1993.

"We haven't done well," Woods said Tuesday. "Hopefully that will change this week."

For the dominant player of his generation, Woods' individual record in the Ryder Cup is also lackluster, something else the 14-time major champion hopes to improve in Paris.

In 33 matches across seven Ryder Cups since his 1997 debut, he has won 13, halved three and lost 17. He's only played on one victorious team, at Brookline in 1999.

"Looking back on my entire Ryder Cup career, that's not something that I've really enjoyed and I've really liked seeing," added Woods, whose single-minded focus in his heyday often didn't translate well to playing with a partner.

READ: Woods delivers 'greatest comeback in history of golf'

'So loud'

Woods played his first practice round Tuesday with Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed and said this week's event will be an "awesome environment."

He suggested the noise in the towering grandstands and grassy banks surrounding the first tee could top the thunderous din on the first tee at Celtic Manor, Wales in 2010.

"I don't know what it was acoustically, but they were so close together that it was reverberating. It was so loud," he said.

"We could hear it on the putting green, which was right next to the first tee, but when you got on the tee you could actually feel it.

"That was fun to be a part of. I loved it. I think this week will be exactly like that, but the decibels will be up a little higher."

Woods' Tour Championship win reverberated around the sporting world Sunday given his narrative of four back surgeries and personal issues, including a driving under the influence charge last year, to clinch an 80th PGA Tour title, second only to Sam Snead's 82.

The scenes of fans stampeding up the final hole at East Lake to witness history being made were reminiscent of Woods' glory days, while NBC's TV ratings jump of 206 percent on last year spoke volumes of his continued draw in the game.

But the former world No.1 said he hasn't had time yet to savor the victory.

"I haven't really looked online and read any articles about it yet ... I haven't really had a lot of time to soak it in," said the 42-year-old.

"I will post Ryder Cup. I will look back and really reflect on what transpired that week. I'm trying to return all the text messages but I'm still well north of 150."

READ: The Ryder Cup in numbers

'Remarkable'

USA teammate Mickelson said the reaction to Woods' win was testament to his impact on the game.

"What Tiger has done over the course of his career, has been remarkable as far as making golf popular and exposing it to so many more people outside the golf world," said Mickelson.

"It was evident last week when he won, to see the response and the excitement level, the energy that he brings.

"He's been playing some remarkable golf. This is the best I think I've ever seen him swing the club, even going back to 2000 when I thought he was at his best. "

'Cherish these weeks'

Mickelson and Woods, who are set for a big-money TV duel at Thanksgiving, played together in an ill-fated partnership on the opening day of the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills.

INTERACTIVE: Ryder Cup moments

Their relationship was less than warm in their earlier days and the partnership devised by captain Hal Sutton has been derided ever since.

Mickelson, however, refused to rule out a rerun this week. "We would both welcome it," he said with a grin, but declined to add whether it was being mooted as a pairing.

The 48-year-old Mickelson, who is playing in a record 12th Ryder Cup this week, is equally fired up to clinch a first win in Europe.

"You would think that you would get kind of desensitized to it but I have come to love and cherish being part of these weeks even more," he said.

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"Because I've played in these events for so long but have never won over here, it would be one of the moments I would cherish most if we were able to come out on top."

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