Tiger Woods has been named in the United States Ryder Cup team to play Europe at Celtic Manor next month.

Captain Corey Pavin chose the world number one as one of his four wildcard picks, along with Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

“It’s great to be a part of this team,” said Woods. “I’m honoured.”

Europe captain Colin Montgomerie added: “I am delighted to see Tiger Woods amongst Corey’s selections – the Ryder Cup is a better event with him in it.”

Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar were already in the 12-man team.

The United States selection race ended after the USPGA in August, which was won by Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

Woods, 34, finished 12th in the Ryder Cup standings after coming joint 28th at Whistling Straits.

But his form has improved lately, with the 14-time major champion showing flashes of his best golf in finishing tied 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday.

“I was hoping he would qualify on points,” said Pavin, after announcing his team at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. “He didn’t but then I was just waiting to see how he was going to play.

“I was pleased to see him playing better. Tiger is one of 12 guys on the team and every one of them is just as important as the other players.”

Woods, whose world has been turned upside down after a sex scandal, has not clinched a major since June 2008.

After taking five months out to address issues in his private life at the start of the year, he made an encouraging return when he finished tied for fourth at the Masters and again at the US Open.

However, he and his wife Elin Nordegren divorced in August and the rest of his year has been poor by his standards, including missing the cut at Quail Hollow Championship, withdrawing from the Players Championship and suffering his worst four-round result in a PGA Tour finish at Ohio last month.

Pavin had said last month that he was not guaranteed a place because he wanted to be fair to all the players in contention.

Woods has played in five Ryder Cups beginning at Valderrama in 1997 but missed out in 2008 after knee surgery, when the US team won for the first time since 1999 and recorded its largest margin of victory since 1981.

In 25 Ryder Cup games, he has never been left out of a single, winning 10, halving two and losing 13.

“I always love playing in Ryder Cup, being part of the team,” Woods said. “It is an experience you will never forget.

“It is one of those things I have been looking forward to. It is nice my game is coming around.

“I feel my game is not very far away. It makes it a lot easier going into a pressure-packed environment.”

Pavin’s other three picks feature two major winners in Johnson and Cink, while the 21-year-old Fowler is one of the most exciting prospects in the game.

The 2007 Masters champion Johnson finished third in the US PGA last month and returns to the side after making his debut at The K Club in Ireland four years ago.

Cink was picked for the third time in four matches despite not winning a tournament since his Open triumph last year, and claiming only one top-10 finish in the last six months.

Fowler, at 21 the same age as Rory McIlroy, becomes the first player to advance from the Walker Cup to the Ryder Cup in just one year.

Pavin said he had a “gut feeling” about the youngster, who has three second places on the US Tour and has moved up to 33rd in the world.

Fowler said: “It was hard to sleep last night but this is awesome to be selected.

“I have to thank Corey for giving me the opportunity to go over there, being a young player, it is a pretty special opportunity.”

Montgomerie, who named his three wildcards after the Johnnie Walker Championship on 29 August, added: “Corey has used his four captain’s picks to good effect as I knew he would.

“I am glad we now know the 12 men we will face at Celtic Manor. Like my European team, the American side has an excellent blend of youthful talent.”

The US will be vying for their first victory on foreign soil since 1993 when the 2010 edition takes place from 1-3 October in south Wales.

“I wish the American team safe travels and we all look forward to welcoming them to Wales,” Montgomerie added.

Source: BBC

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